“I would say that would be the strong point of the Flame; the positive encouragement of each and every player to get the best out of their ability.” – Mick Southwell
Mick Southwell will be the Girls Skills Acquisition Program (GSAP) Technical Director for the 2022 season. Southwell has had nearly 60 years of experience in the game across various areas including playing, refereeing and predominantly coaching. He has had significant involvement with the Flame, coaching in the Girls Conference League program and the GSAP.
He began his involvement in the game at Dapto Football Club at six years old. During his time playing, Southwell said he enjoyed the social aspect of it.
“I think just the participation factor was probably the underlying thing,” he said.
“I’m not sure if we won anything but we tried awfully hard!”
While coaching and playing at the same time for a period, Southwell eventually moved into just coaching after he finished playing the game. He explained that coaching younger people for the first time was a challenge, but his career as a school teacher helped the process as well as reflecting on his own experience as a player.
“I think as a role model, my mother and father were heavily involved with Dapto Soccer Club and that concept of helping out probably stayed with me,” he said.
“I remember one of the blokes I played with at Dapto when we were about 20, 21, 22 we tried to coach a bunch of 14 year-olds and that was quite strange. It was a bit of an education in teenage thinking where all I thought about was football; these boys switch off as soon as the whistle went.
“I remember us running around the field and this English coach or English dad who had to coach us would yell and get cranky with us because that was the only way he knew. I probably was in that line for a little while but I’ve certainly evolved and so has the education process of football, school, it doesn’t really matter. It’s all about learning and from the coaches’ point of view, learning how to get your message across to different individual children or players.”
Southwell has been with the Flame since its inception and highlighted one of the best aspects of the club as the positive attitude throughout.
“I think it’s an attitude,” he said.
“I think that’s across the board what we’re trying to get through with the Flame in the SAP Level it’s obviously different about results but still the concept of that we encourage you to develop, we encourage your successes. On some levels, you point out mistakes and things like that but it’s done in a fairly positive way so that the players are continuing to learn.
“Just picture the enthusiasm I had on my face as a 6,7,8-year-old and all the way through my playing career; you can see that on the players that are coming into us that they want to play, they want to improve their skills and ultimately they want to get better results based on their skill level.
“When you are talking to them and their parents and the parents are on board with that understanding, it’s quite enlightening.”
The recently announced Football New South Wales declaration of leagues confirms South Coast Flame, for the first time, will have a women’s pathway in 2022. South Coast Flame has also announced the trial dates for the 2022 season.