Building Ipswich football’s identity starting with the kids
AFTER "a period of observation'', Western Pride's valuable recruit Mike Mulvey is ready to kick on.
"We've got to improve. There's no question about that,'' the former A-League coach said, eager to help bolster Pride's professional standards.
Western Pride FC was formed in 2012, officially launching junior and senior teams in 2013 to serve the Ipswich and surrounding regions.
"The club needs an identity,'' Mulvey said.
"In such a short period of time, the club has achieved an awful lot. It really has.
"It has great support from Council. It has great support from local sponsors.
"What we need to do now is to really cement our youth development policy . . . to ensure all the kids are given fantastic opportunities, a springboard to wherever it is they might end up.''
While his new technical director role is different to previous head coaching tasks, Mulvey is clear about his footballing goals in Ipswich.
"People need to realise that the reason that we're in positions is to give the kids every opportunity to have fun but also maximise their potential,'' he said.
"If you do both things together, then you are going to have a successful club.''
Since joining Pride in October after an A-League stint with the Central Coast Mariners, Mulvey has been observing everything - "Listening to people, talking with people and watching people coach''.
"That was the right thing to do,'' Mulvey said, of taking some time to assess the club's current position.
The former premiership-winning Brisbane Roar mentor said that was important before he steps up his development work overseeing all the Pride's junior National Premier League boys and girls teams.
"I've been out of Queensland for a while and the leagues have changed a little bit,'' he said.
"The NPL has come into its own.''
Mulvey, 56, has also been appointed head coach of the Pride under-18 boys side in a massive coup for the club based at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
Mulvey is looking forward to that role working with senior team coach Andrew Catton and his under-20 assistant Brian Hastings in next year's Queensland Premier League competitions.
As technical director, he also wants to inject his knowledge and enthusiasm working with club general manager Pat Boyle who he coached 20 years ago at the Ipswich Knights.
"You don't want to come in like a bull at a gate and change everything,'' Mulvey said.
"At the end of the day, Pat and I share what we do is all for the kids. It's absolutely vital.''
Having coached elite men's and women's teams in Australia and overseas in the past, the former QAS mentor was keen to continue that combined approach at Pride.
"I look at them both as football, not as men's and women's, and I think that's important,'' he said.
"I think we can really grow the women's program at the club.''
He wants to build on Pride's strong links with schools like Ipswich Girls' Grammar, Ipswich Grammar and West Moreton Anglican College.
Among those at IGS Mulvey has previously worked with is former Ipswich Knights club captain Stewart Drinkeld.
"There is a history there,'' he said, keen to embrace his past Ipswich ties in taking Pride forward.
The keen golfer has led preliminary planning sessions with coaches before stepping up development in the new year.
"As a technical director, your role is to come and help the coaches,'' he said.
"I've got a great belief in that you don't just tell people what to do. You show them want to do as well.
"By taking the under-18 team, I put myself on the pitch coaching players where the other coaches can come in, observe and pick up some stuff that they might be able to use. And at the same time, having meetings with them to say: 'This is how we want to progress'.
"The bottom line is I've come to try and help. I think I've got something to offer.
"My main focus is all about the kids here.''
Next week: What Mulvey thinks of Football Queensland's restructure.