New soccer programme for kids

Last updated 12:10 23/09/2008
JONATHAN CAMERON/Manawatu Standard
AFTER-SCHOOL LESSONS: Former All White Shane Rufer coaching students at Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School at lunchtime yesterday.

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Shane Rufer's dedication to soccer continues despite losing the YoungHeart coaching job to Bob Sova for the upcoming season.

Rufer, who spent the past two seasons as YoungHeart Manawatu coach, and assisted Colin Tuaa before that, has set up a new primary and intermediate after-school soccer programme.

The Shane Rufer school of football will be based at Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School where Rufer has made arrangements with the board and principal, David Jopson, to hire the field after school.

Rufer hopes to attract girls and boys who are keen to learn new skills and will offer the classes all year round.

"Getting them from a young age is important." he said.

"I'll be working with five to 14-year-olds and teaching them the correct techniques.

"New Zealanders are world-class athletes, but we just need to learn the good habits early. Things like trying to get them comfortable with the ball; being able to control the the ball and pass."

Rufer came up with the idea while on a winter trip to France and Switzerland when he watched all the coverage of the Euro 2008 championships.

He wanted to find a way to stay in the region and had experience with similar programmes including the Wyner's Academy in Auckland, which he set up with his brother Wynton, and with older students at the YoungHeart academy.

Rufer is qualified for the job, having spent 12 years playing professionally in Europe. He started for FC Zurich in the European Cup and was first named in the All Whites in 1979.

Rufer was a non-travelling reserve for New Zealand's 1982 World Cup finals bid after his younger brother Wynton came into the team.

The former All White says there is no reason why New Zealanders can't succeed at the top level now that there are such large numbers playing the game.

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- Manawatu Standard

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