Hales Appoints His Second in Command

Team Wellington Head Coach, Scott Hales, has confirmed his first signings, naming Jamie Dunning and Ben Sippola as his Assistant Coaches ahead of the 2019/20 season.

English-born Dunning, commenced his coaching career while still in England at grassroots level before moving to the US where he coached in the United Soccer League (ULS) for a year.

After making the move to New Zealand, his first opportunity was as the Head Coach for Napier Marist in 2014 where he has coached for the last six and a half seasons.

Dunning, an OFC/NZF A license holder, brings a wealth of knowledge in to his new role having also been involved at Hawkes Bay United as the Youth Team Head Coach and most recently as the First Team Assistant Coach, stepping in to the Head Coach role on six occasions last season. 

Dunning said he was thrilled to be offered the role alongside Hales and the opportunity to be involved with one of New Zealand’s top clubs was one not to be missed.

“I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season with Team Wellington.

“The opportunity to work alongside Scott with the calibre of players the club has and is bringing in, excites me – there is something special building here.

“Scott and I share the same football philosophy so for the players, it offers that continuity we’re looking to maintain.

“As well as being a good man manager, I hope to be a sounding board and an extra set of eyes for Scott which allows us to push forward, push for those titles and push for more success.”

American-born Sippola graduated from Butler University where he was recognised as a three-year Captain, First Team All-American and Academic All-American. He later signed for Columbus Crew SC in Major League Soccer and spent several years playing professionally in the United States and Scandinavia.

Second Assistant, Sippola is no stranger to player development and as the CEO of Olé Academy, has seen their grassroots programme grow significantly since his arrival.

Sippola said that he was looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate with Hales and Dunning.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to work with Scott and alongside Jamie.

“I think together, the synergy between the three of us will allow for us to see out a coherent, systematic plan when it comes to player development and seeing the team succeed.

“Looking at the club as a whole, it gives the young players in Wellington a more aligned pathway and the opportunity to fulfil their potential, without leaving the region.

“I’m confident it will be a great season as we look to showcase best practise and how things can connect in all phases of football,” Sippola said.

With this being the first year for Hales at the helm, it was important his assistant coaches were people he could trust but also those who understood the New Zealand football landscape.

“Jamie’s knowledge of the Premiership and football in this country is excellent,” said Hales.

“His experience working with youth and his focus on developing great players is important for us here at Team Wellington.

“Jamie is well respected by everyone he has worked with and I look forward to us building a winning mentality and culture within the team,” said Hales on his appointment of Dunning.

“Ben brings a wealth of knowledge in the youth space and it’s very clear to see the success he has had with developing young players.

“You only have to look at the outstanding results that so many of his youth players have had and what they have achieved so far in the Central League, to understand his level of understanding in this area.

“I believe that as a coaching group, Jamie, Ben and I will be able to create a clear pathway for Wellington based players and produce some of the best all round players this region will see.”

Dunning will relocate to Wellington with his family in September and will join Hales and Sippola ahead of the start of the season.