Coaching Spotlight: David Neale

Coaching Spotlight: David Neale

David is a program manager for XLR8, overseeing our Skills Development Program at Charles Bean Oval!

What is your favourite team and who is your favourite player?

My favourite team is Sunderland, I’ve supported them for close to 15 years now so have been through all the good and the bad times with them. My favourite player at the moment is Kevin De Bruyne, I think he is close to being the complete player. He can create and score goals for fun and is just really exciting and entertaining to watch.

Tell us about your journey within football and what initially got you involved in coaching?

My coaching journey began when I graduated in 2015 and was offered a position as a coach at my school (St Andrew’s). I started with an U13’s team and worked my way up the age groups until in 2020 I was offered the position as 1st XI coach which I still do today. I joined XLR8 in 2019 and began coaching every day, taking a team in the Diamond League with Chatswood Rangers in addition to coaching in various association skill programs and doing collaborative coaching and coach mentoring.

Who’s been your biggest influence within coaching, and why?

I’ve had so many people who’ve helped me but a few names really stand out. My ex-coach and now coaching mentor Laki Konistis has always been a great friend and supported me in everything I’ve done over the last 6 years. Since joining XLR8 both Nick Marr and Jake Stephenson have been amazing, providing so many opportunities, challenging me to develop and showing me what I am capable of as a coach so I’m really grateful for everything they’ve done as well.

Why do you coach with XLR8 and what do you love most about coaching?

I coach with XLR8 because they provide me so many opportunities to coach in the community and have a significant impact on players of all ages and skill levels across both the male and female game. Also the support you receive from everyone and the culture within the organisation is amazing, there is always someone to learn from.

The thing I love the most about coaching is that every player and every team is different and each provide their own unique challenge. It can be difficult sometimes but being in a position where you can help someone improve as both as a person and a player is amazing. Seeing the joy in a players face when all the hard work pays off is enough to put a smile on my face.

What would be your advice to coaches and players that strive to improve themselves?

Take any opportunity that comes your way. If you say yes, you will have the chance to do something new and chances are you will learn from it and become a better person because of it.

In one word describe your role as a Coach?

Mentor. Being a coach is about more than just teaching skills and tactics. It’s about being a friend, a role model and helping people to have a positive experience in the game we all love.

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