Long-serving operations manager Shaun Gill has been promoted to a new role at the Wellington Phoenix.
Gill has been appointed the club’s director of football. He will oversee the Phoenix men’s and women’s programmes as well as the technical side of the academy.
The position has been created to strengthen the connection between the academy and the club’s first teams.
“While the progression of players from the academy to men’s first team has been very encouraging over the past few years, we want to make sure we continue to develop that channel and indeed expand it into new areas,” Phoenix general manager David Dome said.
“Gilly will also have a role in achieving the long-term sustainability of the football side of the business.
“He has an intrinsic knowledge of all aspects of the club and the board and I feel there is no one better suited to this role.
Gill has been the club’s men’s operations manager since July 2013 and is excited by the new opportunity.
“For me the director of football position is an evolution of the club now we’re all back based in Wellington with the men, women and obviously the academy,” Gill said.
“We’ve got a very, very good academy. We’ve had some good success with bringing players through into the first team and we’ve had recent successes with the likes of Libby (Cacace) and Sarpreet (Singh) and selling them on.
“The next step is how do we do that on a more regular basis and how do we open up other pathways for other players that are not coming from the academy into the first team.”
Gill is particularly enthusiastic about the potential of the fledgling women’s programme.
“I’ve got two daughters and one of them plays football, and I’m very passionate about the female game and how it should be done.
“It’s an exciting growth area for the club. It’s great to have the women here now alongside the men and now we want to see growth in the girls’ part of the academy and also pre-academy with clubs throughout New Zealand and potentially overseas as well.
“It’s a very exciting time, particularly with the World Cup coming up next year. We’ve got to work out how we’re going to utilise that to continue to grow the Phoenix women’s programme and turn the women’s team into a successful A-League side.”
The Phoenix will recruit for a new operations manager to take over from Gill’s previous responsibilities.
“It’s an opportunity for me to get out of the day-to-day grind, sit above some of the stuff and take a more medium to long-term view of what we’re going to do with things like player sales, how we’re going to transition players from the academy through to the first team, how we’re going to keep recruiting good players to the academy and also look at the business side of the academy.
“There will still be aspects of the role like the player recruitment and salary cap that I’ll keep a really keen eye on, but it’ll take some of the day to day operations stuff out of it to focus on some of the more long-term strategic goals that the club have.”