WUFA: Former All White Che Bunce will lead the new Waikato University Football Academy.
Former All White Che Bunce has established a Waikato University Football Academy.
The former All White defender and second-year University of Waikato law student has set up the academy in conjunction with the university, to give aspiring players a coaching programme combined with fulltime study.
Best of both worlds
“Starting the academy is something I’ve thought about for a long time. It’s really a gap in the market, and there is currently nothing like this that caters for the school leaver who wants to pursue football at a higher level,” says Bunce.
“The Waikato University Football Academy gives players the best of both worlds. You can focus on getting a quality education and quality football training.”
The 32-week programme is currently available to a maximum of 12 University of Waikato students. Successful applications will have skills-based training four times a week, tailored gym programmes, training gear supplied by Nike, and receive specialist coaching while competing their qualifications at the University of Waikato.
Training underway in February
Selections are being made now and the academy begins training students on 25 February.
Bunce, who holds United Kingdom and New Zealand coaching qualifications, will be the main coach, but students will also receive coaching from All Whites assistant coach Neil Emblen, Auckland City Coach Alan Jones, and current UK-based West Bromich Albion Academy Coach Roger Wilkinson.
“A lot of players, more than ever, want to play professional football, but because such a small portion make it it’s important that these players have a Plan B,” says Bunce.
“To have something like the Football Academy in our backyard is a massive bonus for Waikato players, and a rung on the ladder to becoming a professional player that’s been missing.”
Great opportunity for high-performance students
University of Waikato Student and Academic Services head Michelle Jordan-Tong says the Football Academy is a great addition to the already comprehensive list of services available to high-performance students at the university.
“The Football Academy is another example of the university providing opportunities for high-performance athletes who want to continue their education.
“It is really important to the University of Waikato that we can support our high-performance students and we have a range of scholarships and support mechanisms to help them achieve their goals on the sports field and in the classroom.”
The University of Waikato offers a range of scholarships including the prestigious Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship and provides support through a High Performance Student Manager who works with students to help them balance their training, competition and study commitments. The university is also a member of the High Performance Sport New Zealand Athlete Friendly Tertiary Network.