Wellington Phoenix striker Chris Greenacre has taken the first step on what he hopes will be a long and successful road by joining the coaching staff at the club.
Greenacre, 33, who already holds a UEFA B coaching licence, will continue as a player but will also have a coaching role that takes advantage of his 17 years as a striker in professional football.
In announcing the appointment today, Phoenix head coach Ricki Herbert said he was delighted to be able to call on someone like Greenacre who has such a solid background in football.
“The character, application and dedication Chris has shown since joining the Phoenix has been second to none, and I know he will bring those same qualities to his new role,” Herbert said.
“His involvement on the coaching side will relate directly to the front third of the pitch because he has a good understanding and feel for players who operate in that area.
“He will remain a member of the playing staff and be selected according to performance, the same as any player at the club.
“Chris has been respected by other members of the squad, and from discussions I have had with senior players in coming to this decision it is evident he will have their support in his new role.
“I-m delighted to get this over the line and the next thing is to appoint a goalkeeping coach.”
Once that appointment is made Herbert said there will be no further additions to a technical staff that includes physiotherapist Wayne Roberts and strength and conditioning coach Lee Taylor.
He said that Taylor-s long involvement in professional football would be utilised and that he was very pleased with the impact the Englishman had made in his short time at the Phoenix.
Greenacre said deciding to accept Herbert-s offer didn-t require much thought.
“It is a fantastic opportunity and I would have been crazy not to jump at it,” Greenacre said.
“All my close friends know this is what I want to do when I finish playing.
“Hopefully I can still play a part as a player because I-m still in good nick physically. I enjoy training and going into work every day just as much as I did as a 17-year-old at Man City.
“I-ll continue to work day in day out and will be treated the same as everyone else while doing so. There will be no special privileges but when Ricki needs a hand I am capable of stepping up to the plate.
“I was surprised when he approached me about the role but I-m really excited now.
“In my 16 years as a pro I-ve taken bits from every manager I-ve played under and noted what happens in training sessions throughout my career.
“Perhaps the most pleasing thing was the response from the other players. They are backing me 100 per cent and when you hear that from your fellow pros it makes all the difference.”