This week we got the chance to talk to the current Central United Director of Football and new Team Wellington Head Coach José Manuel Figueira.
José has immersed himself with great success in the New Zealand football community over recent years, with roles with both the U17 women’s and men’s national sides, Auckland City Youth team and has also had a stint in USA with the New York Red Bulls as a youth and junior coach.
He likes to set his teams up to play attacking footballer, which should spell exciting times ahead for the Wellington franchise. However before he heads down to the capital José still stresses he has unfinished business with Central United as they are pushing for the league title in the next couple of weeks and would love to leave them on a high.
When did you start getting into coaching?
I started coaching at the age of around 18 years of age. I was playing at the regional level in the UK and whilst still at college was encouraged to look into coaching by the Head of Sports at my school – I am very glad he did as I have never looked back since!
What is your role at Central United?
I am the Director of Football (responsible for the player and coach development pathway from ages 10+) and Head Coach of the Premier Men’s Team.
What’s the current schedule for players and ages you coach?
The schedule with Central United FC Premier Men’s is all based around our playing schedule, as we factor in recovery sessions and rest days. However on a normal week we would train 3 nights a week. The average age of the side is 24.
We understand you are about to take up a role in Wellington with the NZ Premiership franchise, are you excited to make the move from the northern premier league to the National league?
Yes! After 3 years coaching the Premier Team at Central United FC and 5 years total as Director of Football I am heading down to take charge of Team Wellington. It is a very exciting opportunity and Im looking forward to the challenge at the next level.
What sort of resources do you use for coaching and planning your sessions?
All the session planning and designing for the week is based around the Matchday. I use Hudl to analyse, add notes and share the focus of the week with the players. The start of the week revolves around working on some of the areas we may have not been productive in the previous game, and as the week progresses we now start to prepare on the upcoming opposition.
Who are your biggest coaching influences?
I would have to say that Marcelo Bielsa (former Marseille, Athletic Bilbao, Chile and Argentina National Team coach) has had a huge influence on my coaching beliefs and concepts. The positional aggressiveness, fluidity and attack minded approach he preaches really resonates with myself.
What would be your dream-coaching role?
My dream-coaching role would be as a Head Coach in a top professional league around the world.
In your opinion, who do you rate as the best coach in the world and what makes them so good?
For me Pep Guardiola is and has been the best coach in the world for the past years. Not only has he had unparalleled success both in Spain and Germany – winning all there is in football – but he is relentless in the pursuit of improvement in his players and teams. His modern way of thinking and concepts we are now seeing in the Premier League are having huge influences on coaches and followers of the beautiful game.
Sam helps lead the community & product team. Sam is always looking for ways we can add new features to our products as well as build MY F.C. into the world’s largest and most engaged football community through its unparalleled content and access to high-level coaches and players.
A self described football geek Sam has spent his entire life immersed in football both as an individual and within his family environment. Sam was a former professional footballer and represented New Zealand at U17, U20 and A International level.
Outside of football Sam enjoys getting out on the golf course when possible as well as looking after his two dogs.