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Rod Grove appointed manager for Junior All Whites

May 27, 2014

Rod Grove appointed manager for Junior All Whites

Massey University’s Albany commercial operations manager Rod Grove has been appointed manager of the Junior All Whites, in the lead-up to New Zealand hosting the FIFA Under-20 World Cup next year.

Mr Grove says it’s quite a different role to those he has previously held in the sport, having spent 11 years as a football coach after a long playing career.

He had stepped away from coaching, and when he was approached by the head coach of the team he had to give it some considered thought.

“All my life, football has really been part of my work/life balance, and when this opportunity presented itself, it made sense to look further into it. I’d started to get itchy feet, and was looking for what the next challenge would be. I sat down with some members of the management team to find out more about the role, and thought it was a great opportunity so I decided to throw my hat in the ring.”

Although the role is ostensibly part time, Mr Grove has at least the next year mapped out for him already.

“We’re a year out from hosting the Under-20 World Cup on our soil, and because of my football background I’ve always been interested in FIFA, and I learned that the manager becomes the conduit to FIFA when they come in, and largely take over that side of the organisation as the tournament draws close. They have all their systems and requirements – it’s a great opportunity for me to see firsthand how FIFA operates.”

The appointment is a fixed term, and goes through to the end of the World Cup.

Mr Grove leaves soon for the Panda Cup International Tournament in China, where the Junior All Whites will face China, Brazil and Croatia in Chengdu.

“This is a rare opportunity for our first-choice squad to have top-level competition, and logistically it will make it possible for our international and domestic-based players to play against world-class opposition. It’s a good opportunity to guage where we’re at and give our players some real tournament experience.”

He’s not the only Massey member of the management team, with Dr Andrew Foskett from the School of Sport and Exercise also serving as the team sports scientist for a number of years.

“I’m grateful for the support I’ve received by my manager, and from Massey to enable me to take on this role.”

Mr Grove is excited to see how the preparations for the Under-20 World Cup ramp up, with the tournament being held in seven host cities – Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wellington and Whangarei. He says it’s a great opportunity for people in those regions to get behind the Under-20 World Cup. “The volunteer force needed to help bring this tournament alive will be immense – that’s down to the local organising committees, so if people are interested, they should put their hands up to help.”

A total of 24 teams and their supporters from across the world will travel to New Zealand to compete in the tournament in 2015 from May 30 to June 20. The last two matches will be played at Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium.

On Friday May 30 a celebration will be held at Aotea Square in Auckland from 12-2pm to start the countdown to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, with ticket giveaways, and a celebrity football match. For more information go to: http://www.fifa.com/u20worldcup/index.html

ENDS

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