FOOTBALL West have announced that Football Hall of Fame WA inductee and former Perth Glory captain Gareth Naven has been appointed as a Youth Development Officer.
He will be directly involved in elite technical programmes, including the Hyundai Technical Support Program (TSP), the Hyundai Skill Acquisition Phase (SAP) for Girls and the Hyundai Skill Development Program (SDP).
He will also help select and coach many of the Gold Fields State Teams.
“This is a great opportunity to come back to Perth and work with the young players coming through,” said Naven, who has spent the last three and a half years as youth team coach with Melbourne Victory.
“I am happiest when I am out there, on the training pitch. The biggest thing for me is – what are the kids good at and how can we make them great at it?
“It is about delivering quality content but also making sure the kids enjoy playing, so they want to come back to another session, another game.”
Naven added: “The focus changes for players as they get older. Between nine and 12, they are the foundation years where we get players to love playing and have fun. Then you get the 13 to 16-year-olds, where it is about game awareness and understanding. And 17 and over, it’s about finishing it off, the performance end of their development.”
Naven will be the third AFC/FFA Pro Diploma holder in the Football West Development Department, along with Head of Development Jamie Harnwell and Technical Manager Cris Ola.
“I played with Jamie at the back end of my career with Perth Glory, for about two years,” Naven said.
Harnwell, also a Hall of Fame inductee, is delighted to reunite with his old teammate.
He said: “It is a fantastic coup for Football West to be able to bring someone of the calibre of Gareth Naven to the organisation as our Youth Development Officer.
“Gareth has worked at the highest level of development in this country during his time with Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory and I am looking forward to him sharing that knowledge, not only with the players through programs such as our Talent Support Program or Gold Fields Australia WA State teams, but also with club technical directors and coaches.
“This is another indication of the investment that Football West is making to raise the technical standards across the game in WA.”
Gareth, who was inducted along with his twin brother Craig into the Hall of Champions in 2008, was captain of Perth Glory from its initial season (1996) in the old NSL up until his retirement from playing. He then had a spell on the Glory coaching staff as the Youth team leader.
A no-nonsense midfielder, he played 143 times for the Glory and scored six goals.
Gareth, who was a junior at Gosnells and Bayswater Inter, was an Australian Schoolboy International in 1985, and later moved to South Australia where he played 11 times for Adelaide City in the NSL and locally for Birkalla. He then returned to Perth and played with Perth Italia before having a spell with Malaysian side Sarawak followed by the Perth Kangaroos in 1994, leading them to an overwhelming title triumph in the Singapore League.
He won four State league championships with Italia and made twenty appearances for WA, and was the 1992 Gold Medal winner.
PIC ONE: Gareth Naven in typical determined pose. PIC TWO: Gareth receives his Hall of Fame plaque from Minister for Sport John Kobelke in 2008.