Ipswich school’s expanded focus on excellence
ENJOYING the outdoors with specialised encouragement from a former premiership-winning A-League coach.
As sporting activity begins to crank up around the region, school students are also benefiting.
One of the city’s most important football development programs is running again under the watchful eye of Mike Mulvey, a previous A-League Coach of the Year.
The West Moreton Anglican College (WestMAC) Football Excellence Program was set up in 2017 linked to the Western Pride Football Club.
With Mulvey recruited to Pride last year as technical director, he was keen to resume the successful program as soon as possible after the COVID-19 shutdown.
In the third week back, the former Brisbane Roar grand final-winning mentor is happy to share his knowledge at the Karrabin school, working with students from years 7-10.
“We’ve been on the sidelines for a little while with the coronavirus and it’s good to get out in the sunshine,’’ English-born Mulvey said.
“It’s beautiful in Queensland at this time of the year.
“I think the kids are really enjoying it and I’ve been enjoying it.’’
Mulvey is running mixed classes, saying the girls are displaying as much determination to learn as the boys.
The program is run under a tight COVID-19 safety policy.
“All the kids are well mannered, good humoured and understand the situation,’’ the elite coach said.
“Life has to go on and what I’ve seen the last couple of weeks is that the school life is going on and back to normal and the club scene is back to normal (training), which is very good.’’
Mulvey’s focus is helping the young footballers feel comfortable with a ball at their feet and not pressured to give it up too quickly.
“It’s really important to concentrate on the core skills,’’ Mulvey said. “Controlling of the ball, first touch . . . they need an opportunity to try and master the ball.
“I just want to get them to be at one with the ball and to try and enjoy having it and use their right foot and their left foot.’’
Western Pride FC general manager Pat Boyle said the program showed how clubs and schools can work effectively together in developing a sport like football.
“It’s looking to provide football pathways for the children,’’ Boyle said.
“The school has been fantastic. Their support is unwaivered. In turn, the children have embraced it.’’
Boyle knows that first hand as his goalkeeping son Josh has come through the program to gain Queensland Schoolboys selection.
“I know when we first come on the scene, the only representative player WestMAC had was Josh, who was in the under 12’s Met West team,’’ Pat said. “Last year, in total I think they had 19 representative players.’’
WestMAC head of communications and business development Jason Cubit was grateful to have the services of Mulvey, who guided Roar to historic A-League successes in 2013-14. Mulvey was named A-League Coach of the Year the same season.
“We’re very thankful to have someone of Mike’s experience involved with the school,’’ Cubit said.
“It’s a boon for us as a school.’’