Mar 28, 2022 |

Development Officer Spotlight: David Neale

Our Development Officers help in the management of both our in-club programs and our various association programs.

What are you most excited about for the 2022 Grassroots Football Season?

I think I’m honestly most excited about just seeing everyone back out on the fields playing games during the regular winter season. After 2 years of stop-start everyone’s just hoping that we can come through unscathed this year around and a enjoy a full season.   I’m also looking forward to working in a wider capacity in my new role next year, seeing the growth of grassroots football within both the mixed and female game across all age groups throughout the season. It’s exciting to get the chance to work with coaches and players at various stages of their football journey and hopefully learning more about each of them and helping them to develop both personally and as players/coaches.

Tell us about your journey within football and what initially got you involved in coaching?

I’ve played football since I was about 7 years old, starting as a junior at Gordon SC but mostly playing for schools. I really fell in love with the game by watching it though, both going out to the A-League games as a kid and staying up till the early hours of the morning watching the Premier League. That’s where I built my love for the game and in the end what really convinced me to give coaching a go. So when I graduated school and the Head of Football was asking if anyone wanted to coach next year, I put my hand up straight away. I’ve been coaching for about 6 years now doing a variety of team coaching, skills programs, small group sessions and more recently coach mentoring and have enjoyed every minute of it.  

Who’s been your biggest influence within football coaching – and why?

Just about everybody I’ve coached with and watched coaching I have tried to take something from so the list is very long! Jake Stephenson has been amazing to learn from and work with over the past 2 years, so he’s been a massive influence in my journey particularly heading into the coach mentoring space.   My biggest influence though is Laki Konistis who is the Head of Football at St Andrew’s. I had the joy of being coached by him as a player for a year and then being mentored by him for the following 6 years. He’s supported me from day one of my coaching journey and has always been there to lend support when I’ve needed it. I’ve learnt so much from firstly watching him coach and then having the opportunity to coach teams together with him and I don’t think I would be where I am today without that.  

Why do you coach with XLR8 and what do you love most about coaching?

I coach with XLR8 for many reasons but mostly because they are having a massive impact in community football and I want to try help in that area as much as I can. On top of that XLR8 provides all coaches with opportunities to develop and challenge yourself in new ways and the support you receive both from the company and all the other coaches involved is amazing.   The thing I love the most about coaching is seeing the joy in a players face when the hard work pays off. Whether it’s a team that finally gets that first win of the season, or a player who masters a new skill, it’s such a great feeling as a coach to see that and know that you have played even just a small part in helping them to achieve that.  

In one word describe your role as a coach?