Roger is new academy boss
Melville have appointed Roger Wilkinson as their new academy director.
Wilkinson is one of the most experienced coaches in New Zealand, and succeeds his son, Sam, and Michael Mayne, who jointly founded the Melville United Football Academy in 2017.
Roger has previously coached Melville academy teams and taken academy sessions and is already working extensively with Melville age-group players.
Roger holds a UEFA A Licence and a Fifa diploma in coaching. He is also a trained PE assessor and has an Oxford University teaching diploma.
His previous posts include coaching Waikato United, Auckland city and Waikato FC in the national league, while he also served as national director of coaching in 2003.
Melville chairman Wytse Bouma was delighted to have secured Wilkinson’s services.
“Having Roger accept the director’s role was the best possible outcome in terms of ensuring the academy continues to prosper,” Bouma said. “I can’t think of anyone more suited to doing the job. Roger has been a pillar of football coaching in New Zealand for decades.”
Roger Wilkinson first came to the Waikato – from a highly successful stint at Napier City rovers – in his late 30s to become one of the first full time coaches at club level in New Zealand, taking up a role with Claudelands Rovers, which saw them rise from the northern league second division to the top of the northern premier league.
He was then the founding coach of Waikato United (Melville’s parent club), winning the Chatham Cup in the club’s first season (1988). His final season with Waikato was the first summer league in 1995.
In 2002, Roger co-founded a private coaching consultancy, Premier Skills, with former Crystal Palace First Team Coach, John Cartwright and worked as the Under 21 Development Coach for West Bromwich Albion.
Back in New Zealand he had a brief spell with Auckland City and from 2006-08 coached Waikato FC in the NZ Football Championship.
Wilkinson said he wanted to build upon the legacy Sam and Michael had created with the Melville academy – and also beef up the coach development aspect.
“Apart from the players there are a lot of very bright young coaches in there,” he said. “I see my job as supporting them and developing this coaching pathway through Melville as well as the player pathway. That is vital for us.
He aimed to maintain the ongoing quality of the coaching.
“That’s why it is important to invest in training new coaches and making our Melville players part of the coaching process to maintain the standard of the academy
“We have got very good kids coming through and we want to make sure they go all the way through into the first team and maybe further on.”
Despite a lengthy career, Roger said he still loved working at this level.
“I’ve been very fortunate in that I have worked with probably the best football coach in the world in John Cartwright and what you learn is that you don’t know everything and with every coaching experience you gain new knowledge.
“For example, even they other day I was working with Under 14s and I came off thinking, ‘that was really enjoyable’. If you enjoy what you are doing, then you keep doing it.”