The Wellington Phoenix have looked to their thriving academy to help take the women’s team to the next level.
Academy technical director Paul Temple has been appointed coach of the Phoenix women for the next two Liberty A-League seasons.
“I’m really excited because I’ve been at the club for a long time and I love the Phoenix,” Temple said.
“Being part of the club for so long you build a real affinity with the staff and the supporters so it’s a real privilege to be given the opportunity to lead the team into the next couple of seasons.”
He replaces Natalie Lawrence, who decided against seeking reappointment following a review of the 2022-23 campaign.
“We want to build on the strong foundations laid by Nat. There is a core group of players who are hardworking, humble and have the mentality to improve. Supporters want to see those characteristics in their team.
“The task now is now to build on that good work and take the team into the playoffs.
“As a club we’re ambitious. We want to try to make the finals each year so the target will be to put a squad together that will get us into the playoffs and push the club forward.”
Temple has coached a variety of academy teams since moving to the capital at the start of 2016.
He started out as youth team coach before guiding the men’s reserves for three seasons. Last year he took over the women’s development group, which saw his coaching career come full circle.
The “naturalised Kiwi” burst on to the international scene in 2008 when he coached New Zealand at the inaugural FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Aotearoa, at the age of just 26.
He also took New Zealand to the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, as well as serving as an assistant coach for the NZ U-20 women’s team.
“Football’s really changing in the coaching space. You see so many more coaches going from women’s football to men’s football to women’s football.
“Coaching is very much fluid and changing now so I see it more as a coaching journey rather than the women’s or men’s game.
“There are so many similarities, but it’s been good to get back into the women’s side of things and working with them.
“There are slightly different challenges as a coach. It makes you a better coach all around I believe.”
More recently Paul Temple has been involved with New Zealand men’s age-group teams and he will leave for the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina next weekend as Darren Bazeley’s assistant coach.
Temple has a UEFA A coaching licence and has started his OFC pro diploma course.
Director of football Shaun Gill has congratulated Temple on the appointment.
“We are fortunate to have a coach of Paul’s calibre within the club,” Gill said.
“He is vastly experienced at all levels of the game in New Zealand and deserves this opportunity to coach in the A-League.
“We have acted quickly to appoint the women’s new head coach to give the players certainty for next season and to allow Paul to start putting together his squad.
“We believe he can take the Phoenix women to the next level and have the team challenging for the finals.”