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Our COACHING TEAM

Who We Are

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ADAM THURSTON

- DIRECTOR

NZF Junior Level 3
 FA Level 2
NZF/OFC b LICENSE COACH​

Spending his youth in the Manchester United Academy from age 8-16. Adam completed his Scholarship at Preston North End before going on to play in the Conference Premier. He has also played in America before coming to New Zealand. Adam's vision for The Pro Project is to give young players a positive experience through playing football, to push the player to reach their full potential. Player care is at the top of his list - 'coach the person first, the player second.'  

027 555 4606

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Tayla
O'BRIEN

- COACH

BACHELOR OF SPORT & EXERCISE SCIENCE
NZ FOOTBALL FERN
NZF Junior Level 3
C License qualified coach

Tayla has a true passion for football. This passion has led her to represent her country at two U20 World Cups and her region in the National Womens League.

Tayla is currently an integral member of the Eastern Suburbs Womens Premier team, currently leading the 2022 National League and Tayla is leading the 'Golden Boot' - so she definitely knows where the back of the net is!

 Tayla brings extensive knowledge and dedication to the game as a coach. She maintains a focus on ensuring female footballers reach their ambitions by working hard and ultimately having fun. 

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JAkE MOOSbALLY 

- COACH

NZF JUNIOR LEVEL 3
YOUTH LEVEL 2
C LICENSE qualified coach


'Moose' has coached the ESAFC U10/11 Academy Teams for the past two seasons. He has also been a key part of this year's Chatham Cup Final Eastern Suburbs Senior Mens team. Specialising in defence from his chosen position of Centre Back. Moose is also a highly qualified Junior Coach who builds amazing rapport with young players through the right mix of fun and intensity. Moose loves seeing young players develop both as footballers and as great people and he's really excited to be working with The Pro Project. 

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JOE 
JERIMIAH

- COACH

Having spent his youth within the EFL academy system, Joe earned a
2 year scholarship at League Two Club, Forest Green Rovers.

Since then, Joe has gained valuable experience playing at Conference Premier level and is now a regular starter at Eastern Suburbs Men's team.

Joe is all about creating a supportive learning environment for the players to express themselves and bring confidence to the game.

Joe is a specialist in defending and looking to coach defending specifics and all around ability as well.

 

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JOE
RIDLEY

- COACH


Spending his youth days at Middlesborough Football Club from age 10 years in the Academy to age 20 years as a Professional.

Joe went on to represent England as a Youth level playing along side the likes of Jude Bellingham.

Joe si excited to give the young players the best opportunity to gain extra percentages and help make better plyers, as well as people. His main priority is to make coaching enjoyable.

The Pro Project are excited to help Joe move to Auckland City Football and he will be running the Private 1-1 sessions at Nixon Park.

 

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FRANCO
D'ORTENZIO

- COACH

NZF JUNIOR LEVEL 1
COACHING AWARD

Young and enthusiastic, Franco is starting to make his mark on football and has an early passion for coaching.

Franco has coached several teams through school level and recently won Coach of the year award at Selwyn College. Having played at Eastern Suburbs all his life, he is focusing on his own playing whilst also helping young football players on their own journey.

Franco vales great people as well as great players, putting emphasis on positive attitude and work ethic.

Franco is super excited to be working as part of The Pro Project team and will make sure that at the end of the day, players love playing football. 

The Pro Project welcome Franco on board, a young passionate Coach and another great person to add to our team. Franco will be coaching our Promising Player Programme and our private sessions for 5-9 year olds.

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DYLAN CONNOLLY

- ATHLETE DEVELOPMENT COACH


The Pro Project  Athlete Development Coach's focus is to improve the athletic ability of young footballers.

Dylan has gained a great understanding of athletic development through both his career as a physiotherapist but also his playing career as a footballer. This is vital on the journey to becoming a better player and will give our athletes the edge when it comes to their club/school football. This will involve individualised assesment and planning around each players weaknesses and appropriate programming to improve on these aspects of their game, through strength and conditioning, speed and resistant work.

The game of football is evolving and every player wants to be faster and stronger, these sessions will give our athletes the chance to do so. This will be rolled out in our Advanced Player Programme 1-1 sessions to supplement out football coaching.

The Pro Project are delighted to have Dylan in board. He brings great  expertise in this area and we look forward to introducing the speed/strength element alongside our football coaching.

 

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SAM
HANLEY

- COACH

FA LEVEL 2

Spending his youth scholarship years at Rotherham United in the UK, Sam quickly left England at 18 years old to play professionally in Poland before returning to the UK for a short stint in Wales.

Sam has also played in the Czech Republic, Australia NPL Victoria as well as New Zealand by the age of 21.

Sam's ideology for The Pro Project is to give young players all the necessary tools they need and ways to bring this into game situations, all whilst inspiring a love for the game in New Zealand.

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NOAH 
BILLINGSLEY

- COACH

In 2023, Noah coached the U12 Auckland United Academy Boys team.

He also has international coaching experience, having coached in the USA. A student athlete from the University of Santa Barbra, Noah has playing experience in the MLS, as well as experience with the All Whites and New Zealand age group teams.

He now plays for ESAFC as a defender. Once a striker, Noah loves both sides of the game, but highly values the defensive side of the game.

Now turning his attention to coaching, Noah thoroughly enjoys helping young players develop and grow both on and off the field and he can’t wait to start his new journey with The Pro Project.

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