Western Pride technical director Matt Shepherd.
Western Pride technical director Matt Shepherd. Rob Williams

Why former teacher wants to share football knowledge

FOOTBALL: Matthew Shepherd has wasted little time getting down to business helping Western Pride and regional football.

Since starting in late August, he's been busy organising 2019 season trials from under 9s to seniors, developing Pride's Skills Acquisition Program, meeting coaches and setting a new way forward.

Asked what he likes most about being a technical director, the former teacher quickly showcased his thinking.

"It's simply passing on knowledge if you can,'' he said, having secured a two-year appointment at Pride.

"And helping people move toward achieving their potential . . . seeing them improve their confidence and their enjoyment of playing the game.''

The former player said the most challenging part of being a technical director was managing limited time.

He said the most satisfying aspect was "seeing kids make progress with the way that they play and seeing the coaches doing their job better''.

"I've enjoyed working with really talented young players . . . and you can pass on some of the learnings that you've had going through the stages.

"In a role like this, I'm also co-ordinating and helping move towards a certain direction. It's like steering in a certain direction and trying to get people to align toward that.''

While he enjoys working with players of all ages, Shepherd said the under-14-15 age groups were among the best to oversee.

"They are going from that junior phase and learning the 11 game and basically introducing them to playing a certain way,'' he said.

On how he measures success, Shepherd said it was "building relationships with the people I'm working with and challenging them to be better''.

"It's always a balancing act,'' he said.

"In that leadership role, you want to inspire people without smothering them.''

He said being a teacher helped him in his football roles due to having group management, classroom and presentation skills.

The Pride SAP program so far has four boys teams from under-9 to under 12, along with a shadow squad.

The girls SAP program has under-11 and under-12 teams.

As Shepherd continues his pre-season work, he said Pride were looking for more under-9 and under-10 girls players for 2019.