“Football is meant to be played by everybody”: Tom Kenny
Over the past few years, Brisbane City has diversified the types of coaching programs it has offered.
Be it the burgeoning girls program, the Mini Gladiators for under 3 to under 5 year olds, or even Football For All, Brisbane City’s inclusive, Paralympic football program.
Tom Kenny is central to almost everything that Brisbane City does, and is one of the club’s longest serving coaches, having first started working at the club ten years ago.
This coming season, he will be primarily focussing on the under 9 SAP side, a pivotal year in a young player’s development pathway.
“It’s such a vital year holistically,” Tom said.
“Just to get them into the way we do things and get used to that mentality, so not just the technical aspects. It’s all about attitude.”
That young SAP age-group is not the first opportunity Brisbane City gets to develop young footballers though, with the ever expanding Mini Gladiators program going from strength to strength – thanks in no small part to the efforts of Phil Gaskin, and the coach Tom Kenny.
Tom acknowledges the responsibility he faces as coach of the youngest members of the Brisbane City FC family, heralding that fun is the most important thing as the youngsters begin their footballing journey.
“With the Mini Gladiators it’s all about fun,” Tom confirms.
“People get a little bit overawed with technical skills at that age, where for me, really it’s about getting them a love for the game – because that’s important.
“It’s really important for me to push something that I’ve loved my whole life and influence them to lead a healthy, happy lifestyle.”
“I wouldn’t change it for the world,’ Tom continued. “Not many coaches, in the SAP program, like to be involved in the younger kids, the truth is we wouldn’t have a SAP program without the Mini Gladiators, so it’s really important.” Tom said.
Tom, who is currently working towards his FFA ’B’ licence thanks to funds provided by the Brisbane City sponsorship group, is thrilled to be a part of one of the strongest coaching lineups in junior football, and can’t wait to see how the players under his charge progress this season.
“That’s the most exciting part of the job. Seeing where they start the year from to where they end up.
“I’ve seen kids that I’ve worked with ten years ago making their debut for the first team, and to me that makes me really proud to see that happen and see them progress through the club and stick with it and stick with football, pushing forward and trying to better themselves.”
Another area where Tom sees potential for growth is Brisbane City’s girls program, an area he has worked in over the last couple of years, and is thrilled to see how much improvement has been made, but also understands that there is still a lit of work to do.
“Women’s football is something that I am very passionate about, and I think it’s an area that is still overlooked a little bit in the wider footballing community,” Tom said.
“My goal would be to get the girls program to be as strong as the boys program here at the club, and I think it’s a very achievable goal.
“It’s not just an elite pathway, but an entire framework. So when we develop girls in the academy, we want to be able to provide them a good grounding so they can go on to the NPLW or even W-League.”
“There are pathways for girls but we just need to make sure they are as visible as the pathways we have on offer for the boys.”
Football For All
Tom’s final area of expertise is the Football For All program, an area Tom is excited to see continue to grow into the new year.
“I’ve done a few sessions with the Queensland Paralympic Football boys, I’m very lucky to be involved with Jay Larkins and the Paralympic football program.
“What Jay has done for the inclusive community is absolutely fantastic. He’s a great person and what he continues to do is so good for the community.
“But what we’re doing here at Brisbane City with the Football for All program for me is something that I take a lot of pride in.
“A lot of these kids don’t get the opportunity to play in a mainstream environment, so It’s fantastic for them to come down to a safe supportive environment and enjoy it and just be told that they area good enough, doing something that they’ve got a God given right to do.
“I plan to have it going for all four terms next year. We’re always looking for more participants and to push the program forward so the world is our oyster in terms of 2019.
“It’s a fantastic program and I encourage anyone that wants to get involved to come and get involved. You get a lot out of it and the kids get a lot out of it as well.
“Football is meant to be played by everybody. Brisbane City are helping to make that a reality.”