In January 2017 IFC welcomed a new football club to New Zealand for the first time. A new take on our previous camps this first camp with Juventus featured no less than six European coaching staff and only one New Zealand based coach.
Our review of previous opportunities lead IFC to put a focus on having the camps delivered by coaches directly from Europe to ensure the highest level of Youth Coaching never before offered in New Zealand.
In addition to a new partner there was also a new venue for the camp. Based in Palmerston North this camp was based at the Massey SRI, a world class sports education and learning institute chosen to reflect the professional nature of the camp.
The media were in attendance at the camp and Shaun Eade’s article summed up the progress of the camp fantastically:
Seeing a wave of athletes dressed in black and white is common place for the Sport and Rugby Institute, but Monday morning's swarm were missing the silver fern their regulars don.
More than 100 young footballers were stripped out in Italian football giants Juventus' kit as the first Juventus Youth Camp was opened in Palmerston North.
The five-day camp, run by International Football Camps, includes 35 children from Manawatu and the rest from across the country.
Raffaele Maiorano has been involved in setting up camps all over the world, including bringing AC Milan to Wellington in 2015.
He believed there was plenty of football talent in New Zealand.
"I saw the potential in New Zealand that a lot of the kids have the capacity to have a very good football player in them," he said.
Maiorano said they hoped to teach the kids that there was more to football than what happens on the field.
"They will know that football is not just about kicking a ball and making a goal," he said. "It is about respect, it is about mentality. Soccer is not just a game, it is a complete package."
Coaches from Italy and Belgium were flown in for the camp with one Kiwi coach on staff, Justin Palmer.
Palmerston North Marist played a key role in getting the programme to Manawatu.
Football committee chairman Jason Flynn said it was an excellent opportunity for the kids involved.
"Juventus have a philosophy of really positive engagement with the kids. Their training is about a possession-based game and building from the back in terms of how the Italian sides play."
As part of the deal for the camp to come to Palmerston North, a coaching clinic for 25 local coaches was held on Sunday.
"They talked about Juventus' philosophy of coaching and then in the afternoon we ran sessions... practising the philosophies of Juventus from what they showed us," Flynn said.
Artificial turf company Polytan provided scholarships to 16 of the children at the camps.
Chief executive Stephen Niven said he wanted to ensure that talented children, whose families could not afford the camp, had the opportunity to join in.
"New Zealand had one direction that was very ex-British focused so getting them a different way to approach football will only encourage these kids to get more into it," he said.
National list MP Brett Hudson officially opened the camp
"You can't underestimate the value of getting to know a little more about the Juventus way of coaching, but within there will be a bit about the Italian culture and the Italian passion for sport and football in particular," he said.
Flynn wanted to ensure the camp's success so that is was not a one-off.
"If everything goes well we will have another one in October," he said.
"We hope we will be able to do this once or twice a year," he said. "The long-term aim is to potentially have an academy with Juventus in Manawatu or at least to have regular camps where the kids can improve their skills."
He said they would ultimately like to be able to run camps specifically for girls and for goal keepers as well.
From the IFC perspective we were blown away by the positive feedback received following the camp. It is the IFC opinion that our relationship with Palmerston North Marist has been vital to taking our camps to the next level and we look forward to working further with them,
Once again it is the generous sponsors that allow many children to be a part of this unforgettable experience. A special thank you to Polytan international who sponsored 16 children for the camp. We would like to extend the opportunity to learn from the best to all focused footballers and it is the sponsors like Polytan that make this possible.
Following the conclusion of the camp we announced the next opportunity for our players, the Juventus Camp October 2017. We look forward to working with Palmerston North Marist once again to deliver a valuable football development experience. Registrations for this camp are now open and can be found on our website HERE