FORMER title-winning coach Chris Atkins has returned to the helm at Morisset United Football Club.
Atkins, 49, of Bonnells Bay, is proudly old school.
And that means having fun on and off the pitch, respecting the team ethos, and doing the simple things well.
It’s more than a decade since Atkins coached the Strikers to the Division 3 first grade title in 2015, followed by successive grand-final appearances and club championship crowns.
But he’s not concerned that the game might have passed him by.
“The game changes every 10 years. Rules change. And formations change,” Atkins said.
“But the backbone of it, the principles, don’t change.
“If we can defend, and stop them from getting the ball into our net, then we can work on sticking it in theirs.”
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Atkins said he wanted to create an environment at Auston Oval which excited players.
“We want players to be keen to put their boots on at 9am on game day,” he said.
Player retention was a priority, and juniors a key focus area, he said.
“Too many of our kids get to the age of 16 and 17 and we lose them to Toronto, New Lambton or to other Newcastle clubs.”
Helping Morisset’s juniors transition into the senior teams was critical, he said.
To that end, he’ll invite some juniors to regularly train with the senior teams.
“It’s time to build that bridge a bit more, to make this an attractive place where kids will want to come and play.”
The rapid population growth in the Morisset district in recent years meant that recruitment prospects were promising, he said.
His message to prospective new players, then, was that the Strikers offered a coach who wasn’t big on technical complications, but who believed that fun, honesty, and families were the building blocks of a club’s culture.
“We’re not the Jets. We’re not the New Lambton Jaffas. At the end of the day, this is park football,” he said.
- Morisset Strikers currently have a social kick-around at Auston Oval, Morisset, on Wednesdays from 6pm. Formal training starts at the end of the month.