Northland Football Club Incorporated (Northland FC, the club) is a community-owned regional sports organisation in Whangarei. The club changed its ownership model and name (from North Force) in 2016 to better reflect the region. Northland FC has implemented a forward-looking philosophy that sees the club as the pinnacle of the game in Northland with best practices in talent identification, coaching methods, and operations management. Northland FC has implemented this philosophy in multiple ways, ranging from good governance to changing the culture around football development in the region by bringing in qualified coaches to produce high-quality junior (9-12 years old) and youth (13-17 years old) football programs.
Northland FC embarked on new a five-year plan in 2016, with an aim to provide high quality football programs for junior, youth and senior players in the region. This required the transfer of existing programs run by the Northern Football Federation (NFF, now Northern Region Football).
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Owen Liiv was hired by Sportino in March 2017 and appointed General Manager at Northland FC with a brief to oversee the day to day running of the club as well as building the infrastructure to incorporate 300 players aged 9 all the way through to the first team.
Following an initial consultation process with all Northland FC stakeholders, Sportino identified four areas to monitor and improve to achieve the goals in the club five-year plan:
1. Governance & Strategy,
2. Football Programs,
Governance & Strategy Northland has twenty local football clubs that compete locally comprising just over 3,000 players at all ages and abilities, Northland FC sits above this as a regional representative club. The aim was to unite the clubs behind Northland FC and seek to improve delivery of the whole game at every club in the region.
The national governing body, New Zealand Football (NZF), release regulations detailing requirements for club licencing. Sportino aimed to acquire the existing programs run by the NFF alongside meeting and exceeding club licencing requirements for each program. The youth program, known as the NFF Northland Talent Centre was first to transition in 2018, and the junior NFF Northland Skills Centre would follow in 2020.
Northland FC was heavily reliant on one source of income in 2017, with sponsorship capabilities under capitalised and a low membership. The aim was to increase revenue streams through club membership and sponsorship, investing all proceeds into the club to improve the standard of coaching on the pitch and operations off of it.
Originally owned by Kamo Soccer Club & Tikipunga AFC (when it was known as North Force AFC), the club played their games at the grounds of these two clubs. In 2016 with the expanded membership Northland FC had grounds to play and train at but no ‘home ground’ to speak of, in addition to a limited number of compliant facilities. Work had begun at board level to create a Northland Football Hub in Tikipunga which continues to be an anchor base for the club.