THE North Vancouver Football Club can check one more item off of their to-do list now that they've hired their firstever technical director to oversee the operations of their young but growing soccer empire.
The club recently announced the hiring of Steve Kindel, a former national team and Vancouver Whitecaps player who is moving over from his position as technical director for Vancouver United, another youth club. Kindel takes over a club that was formed in 2010 as a result of the merger of North Vancouver's Lynn Valley, Lions Gate and Seymour soccer associations. The new club, representing more than 3,400 boys and 100 men, immediately became one of the largest in Canada.
"To come in and be part of forming an identity for a brand new club this size is really exciting," Kindel, who has been on the job since mid-July, told the North Shore News last week.
"I know they had a lot of very quality applicants and now with the merger the club is one of the biggest in B.C. - there are not too many clubs that are 3,000-plus - and it would have been an attractive job for many people that have been a TD elsewhere or are looking to run a big, progressive club. I feel honoured that they selected me out of all those applicants and at the same time very excited because it's pretty much a brand new club."
The hiring of a technical director who will set the pace on and off the field is another exciting step in NVFC's growth, said club president Chris Davie.
"Our goal is to be one of the top clubs in Canada and with Steve on board, we will move towards that," he said in a release. "The launch of our highly successful U5 Kick Start program, the expansion of our coaching and development programs through the Centre of Excellence and the merger with Norvan men's club means we can offer cradle to grave soccer playing opportunities for our community."
Kindel will do a lot of coaching the coaches, running clinics and sessions for the many volunteers who lead the club's teams. His background as an elite player will help him get the club's teams to play the game the right way, he said.
"Playing at a high level exposed me to a lot of great coaches. You're not going to teach a volunteer mom or dad to coach their team like a Whitecaps coach would coach the Whitecaps, but the game is the game, and all the attacking principles and defending principles are the same if you're 10 years old or a professional player."
With the fall season set to begin, Kindel said he's happy with what he's seen so far in his short time with the club.
"The energy and the volunteerism is really exceptional and that is always going to be what carries the club," he said.
His top priority will be to establish a shared soccer culture amongst all of the club's many teams, age groups and players.
"You want everyone to feel like they're part of more than just an activity, they're part of a club and it's its own neighbourhood," he said. "You get to know other people that are outside of your own team that you're with week in and week out. Hopefully people buy into that club mentality and are proud to be part of the club."
The aim, he said, is for all the players to feel like stars, right down to the youngest age groups.
"Even though we're not keeping track of the score or the standings, they should feel like they're a little Lionel Messi pulling up their socks at home and getting excited to go to the game on the weekend," he said. "It should be something they look forward to all week."