Temple’s story: From player to Phoenix Academy director

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Paul Temple is the mastermind behind the successful Wellington Phoenix Academy but he was not always with the Nix.

Shortly after leaving school at age 18, Temple left his homeland of England to play in New Zealand. However, coming to NZ was a deviation from his original plan.

“I had a scholarship lined up for the US,” he said.

“My pathway was the American route, but then I met the coach from the college.

“Straight away I could tell that it probably wasn’t a professional environment, I just didn’t get a good vibe off the coach.

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“I pulled out of the scholarship, but I had already made the decision that I was going overseas and trying something different.

“I had contacts from school who were in New Zealand who said I should take a look, so I went that direction.”

He said on reflection, his decision to move to NZ was a really good decision.

After arriving in NZ, Temple’s first playing gig was with semi-professional side Mount Wellington but the man had higher hopes.

“I was a decent player and like everyone I wanted to make it as a pro, but back then it was the early 2000s and the only option would have been the Football Kingz in the old NSL,” he said.

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“I just didn’t do quite enough to get rewarded.

“You had to be at a pretty good level to play in the NSL and being an import made it tough.”

With his hopes of making it as a pro dashed, the Englishman would walk a different path at quite an early age.

“I tried my hand at coaching and found that I really enjoyed it,” Temple said.

“At around 24 I started making arrangements, I took on teams and did as much coaching as was possible.

“I earnt my badges, I got involved with different clubs, worked with the federations and with New Zealand Football itself.”

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At age 26, Temple’s hard work would pay off. He got his big break. In fact, he made history.

He was at the time the youngest-ever head coach at any FIFA tournament.

“By the time I was 26 I was doing more and more coaching and in 2008 I was appointed to the NZ U17 woman’s team,” he said.

“I was going to the U17 World Cup.

“The next few years were spent in the women’s game I coached the U17s, the U20s and even a bit with the Football Ferns.”

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The next step up in the food chain came in 2012.

Working with Brian Shelley Temple helped Waitakere United reach two fourth place finishes in the ISPS Handa Premiership.

Next up for the coach was a year at North Shore, a semi-professional outfit in Auckland as both Director of Football and first team coach.

After a year there, Temple was offered a role at the Wellington Phoenix Academy. In November 2015, he joined Wellington.

As they say, the rest is history.

Featured image credit: Cameron McIntosh

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Dan Moskovitz
The Football Sack's resident teen kiwi football nut. Loves everything football except defeats.