Playing football at WCR

The Opportunity

At West Coast Rangers there are opportunities for everyone to play football, girls, boys, men, woman, Community and Competitive teams.

There are both winter and summer leagues as well as various festivals and tournaments. There are also a lot of development opportunities at each level for those that want them.

The Club wants to encourage everyone to play, to reach their potential and enjoy the game.

 Up until the end of Youth Football, we play football in grades based on the players age on the 1st of January in the year they are playing, if you are 9 years old on the 1st January, and due to turn 10 in that year, then you are playing ‘under 10’s (U10) for that year.

At the Senior level we also have our premier Men’s and Women’s team’s which we aim to play in the highest football competitions available to us. Having these teams establishes what we refer to as an ‘Aspirational Model’ – play football at whatever level suits you and love the game!

If you have the talent and skill, you can aspire to play at the highest level and we will help you get there!

The levels of football

  • Whole of Football U5 – U8
  • Junior U9 – U12
  • Youth U13 – U19, and
  • Senior

 Importantly, from U5 to U8 the focus is on fun and not necessarily on winning. We do not place the best players together to form the best teams and most teams are formed around friend groups We know our players still like to do well and we encourage them to understand how to do well and to develop the will to win, while also realising winning is not everything!

We will group players involved in our Advanced Player Pathway together as they have chosen to work with paid coaches and with a higher frequency of coaching. These players may ‘move’ within teams, again based on developing individual players, recognising both an individual’s level of commitment, attitude, ability and their style of game.

A ‘winning team’, is not always aligned with an individual player reaching their potential. This can be even more obvious if players are involved in our Advanced Player Pathway where coaches will make decisions around individual players and how best they will develop, and which may not necessarily be aligned with the strongest team.

Essentially the focus changes as they progress:

At  U9 -  U11 the focus is on skill acquisition 
At U12 - U13 the focus is on learning to train
At U14 - U15 the focus is on leaming to compete
At U17 - U23 the focus is on learning to win


The 'Advanced Player Pathway'

West Coast Rangers believes in a ‘player first’ approach and all our decisions around players and teams are made on that basis.

All young players develop at different times both in respect to their skill level and strength. The majority of football players enjoy the game simply by learning and developing in a Community setting. Some players have higher levels of ambition or talents and skills that they would like to develop and the Club provides an Advanced Player Pathway to support these players. This pathway provides different options for each area of football (Whole of Football, Junior and Youth).

The Club has good evidence around how our Advanced Player Pathway can make a real difference to a player. It is all about time on the ball, time with qualified coaches and time with similar players. We follow best practice approaches using qualified coaches.

Whole of Football U5 – U8

This is where the love of football begins, a programme operating over terms 2 and 3 in the winter season at both our Huapai and Fred Taylor Park venues. Players are put into small teams with a focus on fun and starting to learn some ball control. 

Advanced Player pathway

  • At U7 and U8 players can opt-in to the Little Guardians programme on a term-by-term basis, operating in terms 1,2 3 and 4. This is a one hour training session per week with paid coaches
  • In Term 4 we also provide an opt-in Pre-Academy programme, for those U8 players that are thinking they would like to be involved in the Junior Football Academy programmes


Junior Football U9 – U12

The majority of our junior membership play social or community football and their development will take place playing alongside their team mates supported by a volunteer coach. Coaches are supported by the West Coast Rangers Football staff with coaching courses and other learning opportunities.

Advanced Player pathway


  • Junior players can opt-in to the Academy, based on available space in teams. They will play their winter season in terms 2 and 3 with a paid coach and train 2 x per week. Players will have two self-reflection, performance conversations and report sessions with their coach and participate in a team video debrief session.
  • Players can opt-in to Skill Centre’s operating in Terms 1 and 4, each term being 8 weeks of 1 hour skills training by a paid coach.

Academy Plus

On an annual basis the Club will invite selected players at each Junior grade to be part of Academy Plus. This pathway is designed for those where football is their 100% focus, and are showing the highest levels of skill, potential and commitment.

  • Selection is made in term 4 of the year prior and is based on the ‘4 corner model’
  • Selection in one year does not equate to automatic selection the following yeaThis is an annual programme, with activity in all four terms, requiring commitment at the beginning of the year
  • Our highest quality coaches (JL3 and experience)
  • Terms 1 and 4 - 8 weeks of 2x per week training
  • Terms 2, 3 focus on winter season, 2 x training per week plus game day.
  • 3 x Academy Holiday programmes ( 1 week per term break, 9-00 am to midday)
  • Video analysis of two games plus focus on individual play
  • Continual coach-player reporting framework

The Advanced Player Pathway recognises that some players won’t be able to commit to the Academy Plus approach due to other sports or commitments and this in no way prevents them from developing by way of the opt-in Academy or in any way they choose. 


Youth Football U13 – U19

Many youth members play social or community football and their development will take place playing alongside their team mates supported by a volunteer coach. Coaches are supported by the West Coast Rangers Football staff with coaching courses and other learning opportunities.

Advanced Player pathway

Youth Academy Plus

  • This programme is based on New Zealand Football’s Talent Development Pathway (TDP)
  • It is a NZF accredited programme and is considered best practice for player development
  • It is focused on ‘player first’ and is preparing our more talented players for playing in U23, and ultimately to play at a prem level, professional or university level football
  • Operates from February to September, a 28 week programme and includes a Youth Academy Holiday programme
  • The programme is based around two training sessions per week, with an optional (recommended) Technical/Strength and Conditioning session
  • Players are invoited to attend

Got Questions?

Great. First up, why not see our Frequently Asked Questions page. If that doesn't answer your question, you can contact us.

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