Established in 1997 by Wellington entrepreneur, philanthropist and former New Zealand National Team Manager (1999-2003) Dave Wilson, Olé Football Academy was initially set-up at the grassroots level to provide footballing opportunities for Porirua based children who lived and breathed sport.
In 2005, Olé became the first academy of its kind in New Zealand to implement a full-time professional coaching staff and training programme. It’s sole intent was to develop the New Zealand domestic footballer. In 2012 a full-time residential programme was established to attract top footballing talent from around New Zealand.
FieldTurf® installed a state of the art playing surface on 2013. The 110 x 70m artificial turf field is the same exact surface that has been installed at FC Barcelona and AFC Ajax and allows a world-class surface for year-round training and 24-7 programmes.
The academy is modelled on a holistic approach (Human-Scholar-Footballer) to player and personal development with a focus on producing footballers capable of playing at professional and amateur (U.S. Universities) levels abroad. In recent years, the academy has established itself as one of Oceania’s (OFC) premier centres for youth player development.
Since the 2010 World Cup, 13 different Olé Football Academy players have represented New Zealand International teams at various age level competitions from the U-17’s to the full national team. Currently over 35 players represent the academy at U.S. Universities and professional clubs around the world.
Former notable players dating back to the academy’s inception include:
- Simon Elliot (Fulham FC, English Premier League),
- Mike Wilson (San Jose Earthquakes, Major League Soccer)
- Craig Henderson (Stabaek IF, Norwegian Tippeligan)
- Dan Keat (Los Angeles Galaxy, Major League Soccer)
- Jake Gleeson (Portland Timbers, Major League Soccer)
- Ryan Thomas (PEC Zwolle, Dutch Eredevisie)
- Harry Edge (Amatuks, SA Super League)
- Jesse Edge (Vicenza Calcio, Serie B)
- Cory Brown (NZ U-20)
- Noah Billingsley (NZ U-20)
Academy players have gone on to attend some of the world’s most prestigious academic institutions, including Stanford University, Dartmouth College, Bucknell University and Northwestern University.
In recent times Olé has developed a successful style based around attractive, entertaining, possession football. At Olé’s core is a passion for youth development and empowering young people to pursue their greatest ambitions both on and off the pitch. The Olé teaching philosophy embraces the importance of having a Growth Mindset and a life-long attitude of Constant And Never-ending Improvement (CANI).
All players and trainers operate under the mantra “I Am Because We Are” (Ubuntu) where it is recognised that individual success is best achieved within the framework of a team working together. The academy currently oversees the football development of approximately 250 players from the grass roots level to the academy’s top tier, Young Olé.