Upper Hutt City Football aims to be THE club of choice for girls’ and women’s football in the Hutt Valley, providing development opportunities for female players of all ages and stages.
We’re a large, community club with a committed senior management team striving to provide a quality football experience both on and off the field for female players. In recent years, the UHCF women’s side has seen spectacular success:
- 2017 – W League champions, Kelly Cup winners, Kate Sheppard Cup semi-finalists
- 2018 – A thriving junior girls’ development programme, a senior women’s team playing at the top local level (featuring club players breaking into senior football through to NWL and internationals) and the ONLY club with a team in every round of the inaugural Girls’ U18s competition
- 2019 – Continuation of the junior girls’ development initiatives, U18s and strategic decision to withdraw from W League to focus on development. The club’s strong commitment led to the new Division 3 team earning a double promotion and a final in the Executive Plate, and runners-up in the Girls U18s competition. 2019 also saw the award of funding from the FIFA Women’s World Cup Benefits Program recognizing UHCF’s role in developing the women’s game by having former club members playing for the NZ Football Ferns in the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
For season 2020, we will further grow our junior development programmes, field two senior women’s team (one in Division 1 and a new more social team in Division 3) and continue success in the girls’ U18s league. With the appointment of a new junior and youth football development officer for females, this growth is gaining momentum very quickly.
About our support and coaching team:
Katie Pettengell, Women’s Captain: Hailing from New Jersey, USA, Katie has played soccer since she was five years old, captaining her high school soccer team and then playing socially at Princeton University. She continued to play in Aberdeen, Scotland when her career took her there for 3 ½ years. On arrival in New Zealand in 2008, Katie played for Waikanae while living in Kapiti. She moved to the Hutt Valley a year later and played for Naenae Soccer Club for 10 seasons (only taking 2 short breaks to have children). With her two sons both playing for UHCF juniors from 2018, Katie decided to move to UHCF and welcomed the role of Women’s Captain without hesitation. Katie has been the driving force behind our women and girls with great success on and off the field.
Belinda Warrington, Junior and Youth Development Officer (Girls): Since joining our club in 2020, Belinda has made a huge impact on the development of our younger players. Thanks to Belinda, who was the 2019 Junior Coach of the Year for Central Football, we now have an all-female group in First Kicks (age 4-6yrs), NZF delivered programmes through Fun Football (7-8rs) and have re-introduced monthly training sessions for our Girls Development Squad for U14s. Belinda also works closely with our club captains, coaches, grade managers, development officers, junior director, and talent development programmes, with a focus on female skills development for 9-12yrs, and community engagement with schools. Belinda strongly encourages you to speak with her directly on all football development matters, particularly initiatives that will improve the experience for our females.
Pedro Garcias, Women’s 1st Team Coach: At the helm for double promotion in 2019, Pedro aims to continue the team’s successful run in 2020, and we’re enjoying a great start out of the blocks this season, this time in Div 1. It’s also encouraging to see players from our junior club, development programmes and leading club ladies continuing to support the growth of the team or returning to play in orange following overseas travel, study, parental leave and various other commitments. With an eye for technical development, those seeking individual player development will reap the rewards with Pedro’s skills development expertise, and game intelligence. His own playing career speaks to this itself – he lives on the ball!
Callum Barlow-Groome, Women’s 2nd Team Coach: The environment taking shape for our Div 3 team is very welcoming to new and former players. With an easy-going approach, Callum is creating an environment that is positive, supportive, and infectious. New, existing, and former UHCF players are thriving from his efforts to develop players of all abilities, and the team has netted some great results early in the season. A wider squad of casual players is also growing, supporting players who need to find a positive balance between football and life. This includes players who train only to keep their feet on the ball or make themselves available for games when the opportunity arises – it’s great to have a run, taking time out for yourself when you can. Aspiring 1st team players are also encouraged to train with Pedro and the senior squad.
Brent Windelburn, Girls’ U18s Coach: This is an exciting age-group, supporting a transition from our junior grades into youth and eventually senior teams. Our 18s has been together since the league was introduced by Capital Football. The team also supports new players to the game, and it’s been great to welcome an increasing number of collage players seeking an all-female supported development environment. Brent, who was awarded the New Zealand Football Junior Coach of the year in 2017, stepped into the role in 2020, with a focus on development that will help these players transition into the senior playing environment. Some cross-train with our women’s 1st team.
Lorraine Bowring, Girls Development Coach U14s: The Upper Hutt City Football Girls’ Development Squad (GDS) was established in 2009 to help younger girls keen to improve their football skills in an all-female environment. The GDS grew rapidly, attracting female players from all over the Wellington region, ranging in age from 8 to 17. These female footballers thrived with a significant proportion of the girls included in New Zealand Football Regional and National Talent Centres. In 2015, Lorraine headed overseas with work commitments, and while the programme continued with the same objectives under the careful and watchful eye of Kirsty Windleburn, the format of GDS changed slightly. While overseas, Lorraine re-connected with her English FA roots, continued to coach talent and grassroots football, and renewed her FA Coaching Licence (OFC/NZF C licence Senior). In 2017, Lorraine returned to the club to coach the inaugural U18s team, and in 2020 is keen to support the re-introduction of the development squad starting with U14s. With a switch to coaching Saturday football, Lorraine is also enjoying the challenge of supporting our Men’s Premier Team.
Steve Jones, Player and Coach Wellness Mentor: Where possible, you can guarantee that Steve is willing our teams on from the side-line. Having coached our very own Women’s Prems teams potentially before many of the current players were even born, Steve continues to offer guidance as a mentor. Where sought. Steve will happily provide feedback to support individual development needs. If you would like to work on specifics for individual development, speak with Katie for more information.
It takes a community to grow our community and everyone within it, and we’d love your help!!
We’re keen to hear from anyone who can support female development from behind the scenes. From ensuring a quality game-day experience for our players, coaches and supporters, helping promote our women’s teams through our marketing channels or being a voice for the female players on our Executive Committee, if you have new ideas, energy and a willingness to contribute to growing our girls and women’s game, please do get in touch with Katie!