New Mid Canterbury United women’s coach Helen Beal is passionate about the game of football and a vocal enthusiast from the sidelines.
Born and brought up in the Whangarei district, she first kicked the ball around as a 12-year-old.
Her football journey began with Kamo and later at FC Whangarei in Northland’s top division.
After a move south to the Waikato she played for Claudelands Rovers.
The 36-year-old was a striker in her early days and later a defender.
Helen coached juniors while in Northland, but hung up her playing boots a few years ago when she started a family.
She recently moved to Ashburton with her husband and two girls, aged two and four, because of the district’s housing affordability and good schools.
Both Helen and her husband are self-employed and work as graphic artists and web designers.
Before the move south she checked out the Mid Canterbury football scene online and read about the call for coaches.
“A number of female teams around the country seem to be struggling finding coaches, so I thought why not, so I put my hand up for the role.”
Helen said she was keen to give back to the game that she loved and keen to extend her coaching experience with senior players.
“I’m really enjoying the coaching side of things.
“The women’s team here has some great players and a core group of eight who have played together for a number of years.”
The team was captained by Christina Lima, the oldest player on the team, and included a few college-age players, as well as a new Cook Island player who was proving a useful addition in the defence/midfield, she said.
Helen Beal likes her team to play attacking football at a decent pace and with the ball on the ground.
The Mid Canterbury women play in Mainland Football’s Sunday league.
The team won its first two games of the season, had a narrow loss to Halswell in the third and were beaten 5-2 by table-toppers Western Rebels at home last Sunday.
-By Mick Jensen