Subway SAP Macarthur thrives under Neligan?s leadership


Former NSW Premier League player Stephen Neligan has recently joined the coaching ranks, taking charge of the under 9s to 12s for Macarthur SAP in Subway Skills Acquisition Program. Stephen was kind enough to answer a few questions about the SAP in an interview with Subway SAP writer Steven Nguyen. 
S. Nguyen: Stephen, tell us about your playing career so people can understand your playing experience?
S. Neligan: I played for clubs such as Marconi, Blacktown and Gladesville in the Premier Youth League and was also involved in the FNSW equivalent of the SAP, which was an end-of-season regional training program. I played my senior football for clubs in the NSW and Brisbane Premier leagues before finishing up in the Gold Coast Premier league.

S. Nguyen: Why have you decided to become a coach and especially with the Subway Skills Acquisition program?

S. Neligan: I decided to stop playing and focus on my coaching a couple of years back.  I am passionate about developing our young players and the SAP program is one in which I really believe and wanted to be involved.

S. Nguyen: What areas do you look for when selecting players to be a part of the Macarthur SAP Program?

S. Neligan: Obviously the main areas we look for are also the four building blocks of the FFA national curriculum.  These are first touch, running with the ball, striking the ball and 1v1. I look for players who are competent in these areas before determining other qualities such as team work, attitude and a desire to learn.

S. Nguyen: What do you think players will take out of the 40-week SAP program?

S. Neligan: After completing the 40-week program, players will have a greater understanding of the game and be on their way to technical proficiency. The standard of football displayed is the evidence with players becoming comfortable playing out from the back and maintaining possession. We look to develop players that have these qualities and also players who have the ability to run at and take on defenders.

S. Nguyen: Do you see the SAP as a good program? Why?
S. Neligan: The SAP program allows players of similar ability to train three times a week in a quality environment where results are removed. This allows players to compete and develop in a friendly atmosphere with the focus on playing attractive possession-based football over results.

S. Nguyen: What are the main thing players learn when they are involved in the SAP program?

S. Neligan: As mentioned before, we focus on the FFA building blocks with each session focusing on one of these building blocks. 1v1 games are included in every session, allowing players to gain confidence through achieving success at training.  Constant repetition allows players to continue to improve and develop in these fundamental areas.
-By Steven Nguyen