Coaching Conference

The 2024 Coaching Conference will be held at Valentine Sports Park on the 23rd and 24th of November. After a fantastic return of the conference in 2023, this year’s event aims to build on that success with an impressive collection of local and international presenters.

Coaches will once again have the opportunity to sculpt their own learning journey through a series of theory and practical break-out sessions allowing you to choose topics most relevant to your specific interests ranging from:

  • Youth Development
  • Goalkeeping
  • Junior Development
  • Leadership & Culture
  • Womens & Girls Development
  • Player Welfare

Football New South Wales are also pleased to confirm that ticket prices are once again frozen and remain the same from the 2019 conference as a commitment to coaches having access to professional development opportunities.

Coaches can purchase a 1-day (5 CPD Hours) attendee pass or a 2-day weekend pass (10 CPD Hours).

Early Bird discount closes August 1st at 5:30pm.


Current Speaker List

graphical user interface, application

Further Enquiries

If you wish to be involved in the 2024 Coaching Conference as either a participant, presenter or sponsor, please contact Christopher Adams.

Skye Eddy is the founder of Soccer Parenting, with a mission of inspiring players by empowering parents. Skye is a sought-after speaker for parents, coaches, clubs and players. A former professional player, Skye was a collegiate and youth All-American goalkeeper, Defensive MVP of the Final Four (1993) and State Champion track athlete. Skye has coached extensively in the youth and collegiate games within the United States. An MBA graduate of the University of Richmond, Skye has earned her USSF “B” License, the USSF National Goalkeeper License, the USSF Grassroots Instructors License.

Skye is working daily to “make youth soccer better” through facilitating the development of collaborative relationships between youth club leaders, coaches, and parents. Creator of the, a one-of-a-kind parent education platform rich with content developed to improve the youth soccer landscape by empowering parents with the information and knowledge they need to inspire their players. Creator of – an all-sport intervention that is working to provide a positive game day experience – free of hostile and distracting sideline behaviour – for players, referees, coaches and spectators.

Ernie Merrick is an esteemed figure in the world of football, known for his vast experience and expertise in the sport. He currently serves as the Chief Football Officer of Football Australia, a position he assumed in 2022.

Merrick was born on January 15, 1953, in Edinburgh, Scotland, and began his football career as a player for Shettleston Juniors (now known as Glasgow United) semi-professional team in Glasgow. He moved to Australia in 1975 to play for Frankston City.  In 1979 he transferred to Doveton City as a player initially before turning his focus to coaching and quickly established himself as a successful manager.

Merrick signed as Head Coach of Preston in the National Soccer League in 1987 and finished the season second on the league ladder.

Following a short stint as Head Coach of George Cross in the NSL Merrick became the inaugural coach of the Victorian Institute of Sport Football Program.

In 2005, he was appointed as the head coach of Melbourne Victory in the Australian A-League. During his time with the Victory, he led the team to two A-League championships and two Premiership titles, cementing his reputation as one of the best coaches in the league. In addition to his success with the Victory, Merrick has also coached several other teams in Australia and New Zealand, including Wellington Phoenix and Newcastle Jets.

Merrick’s achievements and contributions to football have not gone unnoticed. He has been recognised with numerous awards and accolades, including being awarded the Order of Australia Medal [OAM] in 2014 for services to football.

As the Chief Football Officer of Football Australia, Merrick is responsible for overseeing the development and growth of football in the country. His vast experience and knowledge make him a valuable asset to the organisation, and he is committed to helping Australian football reach new heights.

Gabriel Bussinger has spent over two decades working in football as a coach and now a Football Director over the past three years, specialising in Coach Development. He currently works at Vasco Da Gama FC, who play in the Brazilian first division. He also previously worked with Santos FC, Avai FC and Sfera FC.

Gabriel holds a degree in Physical Education with postgraduate studies in Football Training, Football Management and Personnel Management.

Peter Sturgess is synonymous with Grassroots football development within England, in particular his focus on supporting junior coaches to provide enjoyable and inspiring football experiences. He has committed his whole career to improving the coaching of our youngest players. A former teacher and academy assistant director, Peter worked at the English FA as Technical Lead for the 5–11s age group (Foundation Phase). During his 17 years at the FA Peter was also privileged to be the Head coach of the England Futsal squad for 8 years leading them successfully into FIFA and UEFA competitions and today continues to influence the technical and tactical proficiency of the next generation as a FIFA Futsal Instructor. His dedication to supporting young players, and his child-centred approach to coaching, positioned him as a key contributor to England Football’s DNA during the tenure of then Technical Director Dan Ashworth.

This DNA, focused on player development, emerged as a central aspect in the FA’s reformation of the approach to major tournaments and broader talent identification. Today, it stands as the cornerstone of the success enjoyed by internationally acclaimed teams.
Peter’s work has contributed to the development of the FA Youth Awards, Advanced Youth award and the Foundation Phase DNA resource and guidance. He holds an MA in Creative Pedagogy and the UEFA A Licence. He was inducted into the FA’s “Hall of Fame” and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from UK Coaching for his passionate work with our youngest children, their coaches and parents.

Now retired Peter works as a consultant for many governing bodies and professional leagues across global football from UEFA, the FA and the English Premier League.

Leah Blayney is the Head Coach of both the Young Matildas and the Future Matildas program. Leah has lead the Young Matildas to the last two FIFA U20 Womens World Cups, Costa Rica in 2022 and most recently the U20 World Cup in Colombia.

As a player Leah played professionally in Australia, the United States (for the Boston Breakers) and Sweden and represented Australia at the 2004 FIFA Under 19 Women’s World Championships and the 2006 FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Championships. She went on and played 16 international matches between 2004 and 2006.

Leah has also served as an Assistant Coach in the Westfield W-League for 3 seasons prior to entering the national team coaching arena. She is holder of a Bachelor of Education (Secondary high school teacher obtained through College in the US). She has served as a second assistant with the Westfield Matildas as part of FFA’s Female Coach Mentor Program fulfilled lead scout roles for Australia at two Algarve Cup Tournaments, the 2016 Rio Olympics and the recent 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

The Katoomba-born coach has also worked as Head Coach of Football NSW’s NTC team and with the Girls’ Institute Program.

Matt is a physiotherapist, applied researcher and sport scientist from Wollongong, Australia. He is a principal partner at Figtree Physiotherapy and been working in private practice for 19 years.

Matt completed his PhD in injury prevention in football in 2020 and has published numerous articles in the area of injury prevention, athlete monitoring and risk reduction.

Matt is the Head Physiotherapist for the Australian U23s men’s national team and has a role at Football Australia as the Player Availability & Perform+ Coordinator. Matt has worked across both the male and female national teams, including the Senior Mens (Socceroos) and Olympic Team (Olyroos).

After beginning coaching in the United Kingdom at the age of 16, Winterburn went on to earn her UEFA B Licence and take on a four-year scholarship at Limestone.

Helen continued on her coaching journey and moved to Australia in 2019 where she had stints at South Melbourne and the Football Victoria NTC program. Winterburn was the head coach of the FV Emerging Matildas squad for the past two years in NPLW Victoria. Alongside her coaching roles with Football Victoria she was also the Coach Education Coordinator and CCC Program Manager.

In 2022 Helen moved into the senior professional coaching ranks as the inaugural assistant coach for Western United in the Liberty A League Womens competition, during this season Helen and the team were Grand Finalists and league runners up.

In 2024 Winterburn relocated to New South Wales to work at the Central Coast Sports College within the football program at the school.

Helen is currently a key member of Leah Blayney’s U20 Young Matildas coaching staff as assistant coach which has seen her involved within the successful Asian Cup Tournament to qualify for the U20 Womens World Cup in Colombia.

Sean has a keen interest in helping coaches learn. He holds an AFC/FA Pro Diploma, but also has a passion for continual learning, which has included a Masters of Coaching (University of Queensland), and training as a Master Coach Developer through the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE) Coach Developer Academy.

Sean has been involved in Coach Development for over 13 years, helping coaches / organisations in different countries and sports. He has a playing background at a professional and international level, and has coached at ‘national league’ level, and with various international age group teams.

Sean is now the E-Learning Development Manager for the Oceania Football Confederation as well as a key member of the FIF Technical Expert Team under the guidance of Arsene Wenger. Within this role with FIFA Sean is tasked with supporting and developing the growth of Coach Education within International Football Associations. Sean has consulted with several National Associations in the design of their coaching courses from C Diploma right through to the highest accreditation of the Pro Diploma.

Despite this experience at a high level, he highlights working (early in his coaching career) as a full-time coach in a community club, coaching 12 sessions every week from U9’s to Seniors, as his best learning moments.

Drew Taylor is passionate about helping others become the best version of themselves. The focus being through a research based approach to youth development, coach education and a person-centred philosophy to raising standards across the game.

Currently Director of Football at Newington College, developing people and processes to help players progress and perform as well as supporting their educational journey.

Prior to this Drew has held a variety of roles across all levels of the game including, Player Development Manager for Football NSW overseeing the high performance pathways for boys football. Head Coach, Assistant Coach and Technical Director positions across a diverse range of environments with experience in grassroots clubs, talented player pathways and elite male and female football across all phases of development. Alongside this Drew has also been a pivotal member of the Football NSW & Football Australia Coach Education network as a Tutor for both the C & B Diploma courses within NSW.

Drew is the holder of an FFA/AFC ‘A’ Diploma and has completed a Masters of Education (Coaching) focusing on decision making in elite youth footballers. A background in Secondary Education and as a Trainer/Assessor in a range of subjects in Sports Coaching and Sports Development also underpin my pedagogy and andragogy philosophies.

Neil Tate is currently employed full time within the Football Australia Technical Department as the Olyroos Goalkeeping Coach and as a member of the Coach Education team designing and delivering Goalkeeping Coach Education courses and resources.

Neil has previously worked across other areas of the National Teams unit with the U17 Joeys and the Young Socceroos. Neil has over 20 years of experience developing elite level goalkeepers across the elite player pathway within South Australia. Neil currently holds his AFC A Diploma and his AFC Goalkeeping A Diploma; Neil is also a qualified Teacher.

Stephanie Brantz is a freelance television sport presenter and well known to many in the football community as one of the key anchors of a number of football and sporting events. Outside of sport, Stephanie was the host of the ABC’s coverage of the World War One commemorations from both Gallipoli and the Western Front in France, as well as the Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony in Canberra. Alongside Stephanie’s role within the media she is also a director of Football NSW.

With over 20 years of experience in the media including many years at SBS TV, the Nine Network and Fox Sports, as well as on radio, Stephanie is in high demand for corporate MC roles. She has a wealth of experience in hosting events including Awards Galas, Corporate and Sports functions and running Business Conferences both here and abroad. As such, Stephanie is returning once again to lead the Football NSW 2024 Coaching Conference where she will be Master of Ceremonies and coordinate activities on the day.

Phil Myall is a professional football coach with over 15 years’ experience both here in Australia and in his native England. Phil is currently the Player Development Manager – Boys at Football NSW, overseeing the high performance and talent development pathways across the boys youth competitions. Within this role Phil oversees the TSP program as well as the NSW State Team programs for boys.

Prior to this his experience covers the full spectrum of the game ranging from working within the grassroots game through to professional academies – including Sydney FC, Watford FC, Southampton FC, and with the Australia U17s.

Phil currently holds his AFC/FA A Diploma and is a qualified Coach Education Tutor to deliver Football Australia courses within New South Wales. Outside of football Phil graduated from the University of Chichester with a Sports Coaching Science degree and is also the holder of Certificate 4 in Fitness.

Phil is extremely passionate about coaching, particularly youth development, and ensuring all players have every opportunity to reach their full potential.

Head Coach at one of the country’s most prolific footballing institutions, Westfield Sports High School, Guzman acts as both a football coach within the school, but also as a qualified teacher. She has vast experience in the professional game, Guzman was once a player in the A-League Women’s competition with Western Sydney Wanderers before turning her hand to coaching. Vic is a current holder of an AFC A Diploma and in 2022 was a recipient of a FIFA Female Coach Education scholarship. Vic currently works within the Football NSW Institute program as Head Coach as well as working as part of the coaching staff for the Future Matildas program in Sydney.

Trudy Simmons is a former professional footballer who has been a part of some of the most successful Liberty A League teams in recent times. Simmons spent her time across Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanderers, Canberra United and Melbourne City. She has won three A League Women championships with both Melbourne City and Sydney FC as well as a minor premiership with Canberra United. Alongside her time in the A League Womens, she has been a regular between the posts for several NSW NPL Women’s clubs and was a grand final winner with the Macarthur Rams and Illawarra Stingrays.

Outside of her playing career Simmons has moved into working in football most notably within the Game Development and Legacy departments at Football NSW and for the Canterbury District Soccer Football Association as Female Development Officer. In 2023 she moved into working within the National Teams at Football Australia as Goalkeeping Coach for both the Young Matildas and Future Matildas, she was a part of the staff which qualified through the Asian Cup in 2024 and will be a key member of staff at the 2024 U20 Women’s World Cup in Colombia.

Neil Mann a former professional footballer who made 177 appearances in the Football League playing for Hull City. Upon retiring from professional Football Neil then moved into coaching where he completed his UEFA A Licence and his FA Advanced Youth Award. In 2001 Neil moved full time into the Hull City Academy coaching staff as Youth Recruitment Officer. During his time at Hull City, Neil oversaw the development of players from pre academy through to senior programs.

In 2013 Neil moved to Australia to work within the high-performance football program at Bossley Park High School alongside coaching with Wollongong Wolves within their youth and senior programs. In 2019 Neil moved into a full-time capacity at Wollongong Wolves as the clubs Technical Director overseeing the junior development programs and pathways within the region.

In 2023 Neil moved to Valentine Sports Park to work for Football NSW as Player Development Manager, Juniors. In this role Neil oversees the FNSW JDL Benchmarking & Standards process supporting clubs within NSW with the development of their JDL football programs.