Newly-appointed Western Pride head coach Andrew Catton.
Newly-appointed Western Pride head coach Andrew Catton.

New Pride coach to adopt successful blueprint

WHEN it comes to encouraging opportunity and supporting development, newly-appointed Western Pride head coach Andrew Catton has been at the proverbial coalface for a number of years.

That's why he embraced the offer to coach the Pride senior men's side next season.

After this year's mentor Terry Kirkham stood down, former Pride technical director Catton was keen to build on his club and school knowledge to help football grow further in the region.

"It's a good opportunity and one that I'm keen to get into,'' Catton said, about to complete his A-Licence in Canberra next week.

"Up until about 12/18 months ago, I hadn't really thought too much about taking on a senior role.''

But after working with teams at different National Premier Leagues and Queensland Premier League grades, he saw the Pride coaching job an ideal chance to further his coaching while helping the club.

"I realised that if I want to go to the next level, whatever that may be, I need to get a bit of senior experience under my belt,'' he said.

Apart from working with successful Pride teams like this year's under-15 boys, Catton oversaw the incredible success enjoyed by Ipswich Grammar School sides in this year's state and national competitions. That includes winning the recent Bill Turner Cup national championships in Lake Macquarie.

"I've got a lot of contacts that I've developed through the school and through my experiences,'' said the IGS Sports and Curricular Co-Ordinator, Director of Football and Cricket and head coach of the First XI soccer team.

"I think my technical and tactical knowledge will be generally pretty fine. "But I think my ability to manage players and build confidence and build a positive environment is probably conducive to players being free to express themselves and play without fear of making mistakes.''

While the shape of next year's competitions are to be confirmed, the prospect of QPL local derbies against the Ipswich Knights is also appealing for Catton. He was a former technical director at the Knights before rejoining Pride last season.

"As far as the derby goes, that will be pretty cool,'' Catton said.

"It would be great for Ipswich football in terms of growing football as a whole in the region. That's something that Pride and Knights probably both agree needs to happen.''

The QPL is a tier below the NPL state competition.

"It is a good competition, especially at senior level,'' Catton said.

"It's going to be a really good experience and a good challenge but I'm very much a process-driven coach . . . and hopefully we can get the outcomes that we want.''

Catton, 32, said seeing what Pride's most successful coach Graham Harvey achieved in recent seasons was also a motivating force in developing the next crop of elite Ipswich footballers.

"I want to have a core group of experienced players but if we are young, I've got faith in young players,'' he said. "Especially the young players that have had exposure.

"I want people to realise that it's an opportunity.

"You look at what Oggy (head coach Andrew Ogden) has done this year at Knights.

"He's put his faith in young players and in the past at Pride, what Graham Harvey did was a really good blueprint.

"He started with the young boys, persisted with them and then we all know what happened after that (winning a historic NPL Queensland grand final in 2017).

"We've got to get to an area where we are back to respecting what the contribution of people of Graham and Karl have made to the club. So these couple of young players can come through and get that opportunity.''

Catton was planning trials in coming weeks, leading up to the official start of the pre-season in November.

In the meantime, Catton is off to Canberra to fulfil the final requirements of his A-Licence.

Valuable support network

ANDREW Catton appreciates ongoing support from Football Queensland technical director Gabor Ganczer and former Pride head coach Karl Dodd, who is now the Guam national team mentor.

Having been Pride's Head of Junior NPL this season, Catton was looking forward to an association with the club's latest high profile TD Mike Mulvey.

"The opportunity to work with Mike will be good for me,'' said Catton who started his NPL career in the Wide Bay area before moving to Ipswich in 2015.

As he continues his coaching development, Wulkuraka-based Catton hopes to use that experience to help bolster Pride's senior, under-18 and under-20 teams next year.