Chris Greenacre takes over as Wellington Phoenix national league coach
Former Wellington Phoenix coach Chris Greenacre will replace Andy Hedge at the helm of the club's youth programme, including coaching the reserve team that plays in the New Zealand national league.
Greenacre will oversee the Wellington Phoenix reserves and help integrate talented young players from the club's academy into the first team environment.
For general manager David Dome, Greenacre's experience as a professional footballer in England and as co-coach of the Phoenix's senior side last year made him a perfect fit for the role.
"For a young player looking to make that step up from potential to actual professional footballer you couldn't hope for a better role model than Chris," Dome said.
"He's been there, he's done that – he's made it the hard way in mid-90s English football and he knows the day-in, day-out discipline it takes to make it to the top.
"Coupled with his experience last season as A-League co-coach, Chris is perfectly placed to know the level our younger boys need to reach, and that's ultimately our goal with the academy – to bring through the best young talent New Zealand offers and provide them a pathway to becoming professionals."
Greenacre made 500 professional league and cup appearances over a 16-year playing career for clubs such as Manchester City, Stoke City and Tranmere Rovers, scoring 144 goals, including 19 with the Phoenix over three seasons.
For Greenacre, the opportunity to bring through the next generation of Phoenix first team players was an exciting proposition.
"I've been incredibly fortunate to continue learning in all the roles I've fulfilled since hanging up my boots," Greenacre said. "So having the responsibility to develop youth players is an exciting new challenge for me."
"My experience both as a player and a coach within the Wellington Phoenix senior setup enables me to give our academy boys the best possible chance to make it as pros.
"The individual professional standards, the detailed commitment you need to succeed, if I can pass those on to our young lads than I'm confident Paul [Temple] and I can continue to build off the excellent base that Andy [Hedge] has put in place."
While Hedge departs, Temple will continue both with administrative and coaching responsibilities inside the academy, helping to ensure a continuity of footballing philosophy and values across all programmes.
"Since arriving at the club I have really enjoyed working with Andy and I've learnt a lot from him," Temple said. "I have nothing but respect and admiration for him, I want to wish him well in the future and hope he continues to positively influence the game in this country."
"Having Chris involved is fantastic, he knows what it takes to play in the A-League and brings many valuable experiences with him into the Academy environment. The players and staff will really benefit from having him around and I'm looking forward to working closely with him over the summer."
The ISPS Handa Premiership begins on October 15 with the Charity Cup clash between last season's finalists Team Wellington and Auckland City. The Phoenix reserves start their campaign on October 23 away to Hawke's Bay United in Napier.