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Jul 26, 2023   |  5:00PM AET

Holmes returns as assistant coach

Holmes returns as assistant coach

Wellington Phoenix head coach Paul Temple hasn’t had to look far to find his lead assistant.

Callum Holmes has re-joined the Phoenix women’s coaching staff for the 2023-24 Liberty A-League, after serving as Natalie Lawrence’s no. 2 last season.

Holmes previously worked alongside Temple at the club’s academy.

“We’re learning the quality of our people is very high,” Temple said. “Sometimes it’s best to look within the club first because we have really capable people, and we have even more coming through the academy.

“It’s good for our staff to see there are potential pathways for them to move into the professional environment and it’s great for the club we can invest in our people.”

Callum Holmes served as Natalie Lawrence’s assistant during the 2022-23 Liberty A-League. Photo: Cam McIntosh/Photomac.

Holmes ticks two important boxes for the new head coach.

“We get the best of both worlds with Callum. We have a previous coaching connection, so we’re aligned on how we’re going to play and at the same time he has the experience from last season.

“Having some coaching continuity is really invaluable. He’s got a lot of information and knowledge about the players we’ve re-signed which I think is really, really important.

“Also, we worked together for a season with the men’s reserves so we’ve done the head coach-assistant coach thing.

“We know what we’re looking for and how we like to work. So, the style of football and principles of play that I’ll bring in, Callum is already across a lot of that, and we can hit the ground running.”

Callum Holmes will officially start his role on Tuesday (August 1), but he already has his feet under the desk at the New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport (NZCIS).

“When it was announced Temps was taking over it was really exciting,” Holmes said.

“We had a few good discussions early on around what my role might look like and how it might fall into place. I’m really happy to have it over the line and get my teeth into it again.”

Photo: Cam McIntosh/Photomac.

He is enjoying working alongside Temple once more.

“Temps gave me my first opportunity at the academy when I was a very young coach at the time.

“I’ve always been really grateful to Paul for giving me the opportunity to do that. It’s held me in good stead for my time at the Phoenix.”

Holmes believes there will be subtle changes to his duties as assistant coach.

“Temps and Nat are different coaches so my role will adapt.

“I don’t think my role will change a lot in terms of the day-to-day workflow, but there may be little nuances that change based on what Temps needs from me.

“I also have relationships with the players we’re re-signing and, although I’m still relatively new to women’s football, I experienced what the A-League is about last year and knowing how it operates will be helpful.”

The Wellington Phoenix will announce the rest of the women’s staff before the players assemble for the start of pre-season in September.