Holmes appointed to lead female development

Callum Holmes is moving into a new role at the Wellington Phoenix.

After two seasons as the assistant coach of the Phoenix women’s team, Holmes has been appointed the female development lead at the academy and head coach of the women’s reserves.

He’s replacing Katie Barrott, who’s leaving Wellington later this month to explore opportunities overseas.

Barrott has been in the role since September 2022 after two seasons coaching the academy’s under-16 girls team.

Phoenix director of football Shaun Gill has acknowledged Barrott’s contribution to the academy.

“Katie has pretty much built the female development programme from scratch and has created a great environment for our young women at Fraser Park,” Gill said.

“It’s disappointing to lose one of New Zealand’s best up and coming female coaches as we want more women involved in football.

“But Katie’s left a lasting legacy for us to build on and we wish her all the best overseas.”

Katie Barrott at a Wellington Phoenix academy training session at Fraser Park. Photo: Ryan Imray/Imray Snaps.

Gill believes Callum Holmes is best placed to carry on Barrott’s work.

“Callum has a lot of experience in youth development, having worked at Capital Football, the Phoenix academy and Sunderland before coming on board as the women’s assistant coach.

“He knows what’s required in the A-League and he can help prepare the next generation to make the step up to the first team.

“His move back into the academy is also great for Callum’s development as he will now be the head coach of his own team.”

Holmes is “really excited” about his new role.

“I can’t wait to get started and carry on the really good work that Katie has done,” he said.

“I want to help more reserve team players step up to the A-League women’s team and help those in the two younger age groups progress as well.

“I’ve spent two good seasons in the A-league with two really good head coaches, who I learnt a lot from.

“I’m excited to put some of those things into practice, whilst still being able to support Paul [Temple] and the team going into the next A-League season.”

Callum Holmes at a Wellington Phoenix women’s training session at NZCIS. Photo: Cam McIntosh/Photomac.

Katie Barrott says it’s been a really hard decision to leave the academy.

“I always said I’d stay here until the female development programme was properly up and running,” Barrott said. “And we’ve gone from the 12 players we had in my first year to three highly functioning teams, more female staff than ever before and a number of academy graduates as well.

“It just feels like a really good time to step away and to explore other opportunities while I’m still a young coach, and for it to be carried on by someone else.”

Barrott has “grown a lot” in her time at the academy and has thanked her colleagues, the players and their families.

“I’m really, really grateful for all of the academy staff. They’ve been very patient with me.

Katie Barrott (right) at a Wellington Phoenix women’s reserves team match at Fraser Park. Photo: Ryan Imray/Imray Snaps.

“I’m still a really young coach and I was an even younger coach when I started so thanks to all of those people who stuck by me and helped me like Chris Greenacre and Steve Coleman, who really took me under their wings and continue to teach me a lot.

“I’d also like to express my gratitude to the parents of the girls I work with.

“They share their kids with me quite a lot throughout the week and I’m really grateful for how much trust they put in me and how fun they’ve made my job.”

Callum Holmes will start his new role in the coming weeks with the Phoenix now beginning their search for Paul Temple’s new assistant coach.