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WE ARE FAMILY - Profile of Guillermo Schiltenwolf

WE ARE FAMILY - Profile of Wellington United's Women's coach Guillermo Schiltenwolf

We are family. It may have been a smash hit for Sister Sledge in the disco fueled late 70s, but it is also the basis for an coaching ethos that has been instilled in Wellington United’s Women’s team over the past decade.
The key figure behind the ethos is Argentinian born Guillermo (pronounced Gi-Shay) Schiltenwolf, who as well as instilling this ethos has built a successful pathway for women at Wellington United and also produced teams that play very attractive football.

While he played football as a youth himself, he never made it to any great heights but he was interested in coaching. He won a scholarship to Cologne University in Germany where he studied Physical Education, focusing on football (3 papers) as well as health and fitness (1 paper). As part of the course he worked with German Bundesliga Club FC Koln, something he really enjoyed and helped boost his love for coaching and study which continues today.

Recognising the growing importance of coaching qualifications and gaining experience, Guille completed a 2 year full time coaching course in his native Argentina, as well as a Catalan (Barcelona) Level 1 coaching certificate. In 2012 he attended Ajax for a two week KNVB (Dutch FA) coaching course, which included time working with Denis Bergkamp. He currently holds a B licence for New Zealand and Australia and in September will be sitting his A Licence. His qualifications and experience have been recognised at International level. Being headhunted by Samoa to lead their U17 women’s team in the Oceania Nations Cup in 2017, where they achieved their first ever win at international level.

Around 2010 a friend of his was in New Zealand and told him he should come out for a holiday. So he did and he has never left! He stared coaching the men’s and women’s teams at Victoria University before being approached by Wellington United. Wellington United had only just survived in the Central League the year before with a last day victory and things didn’t start too well, two big losses of 15-2 and 12-0 had Guille questioning his decision to take on the United role and he seriously considered leaving the club. However, the club chairman at the time, Anthony Mumby, talked him into staying and ensured the club supported Guille as he implemented his plan for a Women’s football pathway at Wellington United.

Helped by a link up with a girl’s junior team called the 'Nokouts' run by Justine Empson (who is now the Diamonds team manager) the club grew and with four women’s teams is now one of the largest in Wellington. The first team, the Diamonds have won the league twice in the last three seasons, reached the semi-final of the Kate Sheppard Cup and have finished in the top three of the league for the last five seasons. The reserve team in Capital Premier have finished in the top 3 for the past 4 years and are quite often described as the best footballing team in the division.

When asked about his coaching philosophy and influences he cites the likes of Marcelo Biesla, Pep Guardiola and fellow countrymen Diego Simeone and Mauricio Pohettino. In the New Zealand game he mentions Stu Jacobs, Andy Hedge and Declan Edge. They, like Guille, like their teams to play possession based football with the focus on keeping the ball, being organised and recovering the ball as quickly as possible if you lose it. He also likes to build teams that are more than just teams and instilling a family feeling in his players and keeping in touch with them after they have moved on.
The pathway is proving successful and has seen the likes of Maggie Jenkins and Mickey Robertson join the Football Ferns Development Program, while others such as Hope Gilchrist, Tara Elmes, Jayme-Lee Hunter and Ella Wilson have all achieved scholarships in the USA.

When asked about his coaching highlights, he says the two seasons that stand out are 2016 when he achieved the unique double of winning both the Women’s and Men’s Central League titles, within a week of each other. (He was assistant coach with Wellington Olympic as well as Head coach of Wellington United Women). The other was last season where his team won the league unbeaten, the Kelly Cup and made it to the semi-final of the Kate Sheppard Cup, a first for the club.

But one of his most satisfying moments was recently when a player he knew well returned to Wellington and felt she owed it to herself to try out other clubs, she did but it didn’t take her long to realise Wellington United was where she belonged saying the club is her family. Guille is extremely proud that he has been successful in instilling that feeling and pride within the players.


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