Far North Coast father and son duo Chris and Christian Layland have taken New South Wales by storm as they teamed-up to coach Met West to a third-place finish in the recently completed NSW State Titles.
With head coach Christian Layland also part of the Western Sydney Wanderers coaching staff, it was a role reversal of sorts as father Chris became his assistant for the first time.
“Ever since I was 14 I have been my father’s assistant: from coaching in Casino and Lismore and even in Ballina – I was learning my trade from him at an early age,” said Christian.
Moving to Melbourne and then Sydney in late 2011, Christian has since worked with some of Australia’s best coaches including Sean Douglas, Ian Crook, Trevor Morgan and Kelly Cross.
“It was very special to be able to reverse the roles and have Dad as my assistant for the first time. It was a flashback to the days when I first got into coaching and made a refreshing change to be able to teach him something this time!”
The tournament itself was a success for the duo with the U14 Met West team taking out the bronze medal after losing only one match in the entire tournament.
“We finished with the best defence in the state, we were the only team to keep the eventual champions scoreless and we only missed out on winning the title ourselves by three points,” explained Christian.
“It felt good to prove that coaching talent from the Far North Coast can match it with anyone else in New South Wales.”
While the result was positive for the Laylands, the tournament is also used as an identification opportunity for the upcoming National Championships, with Christian and Chris in charge of potential household names of the future such as Emmanuel Dolo and Jeremiah Bilivalu.
Christian’s experience at the Wanderers allowed him to develop a program for Met West that closely replicated an A-League environment including a nutrition plan, a professional prehab and recovery plan and even charity appearances at Ronald McDonald House.
Chris, a former Premier Division coach with Ballina SC, said it was an experience he would never forget. “When I was initially approached by Christian I was keen to join the coaching team and learn to replicate a professional environment,” said Chris.
“To see the benefit that the team had from the A-League standard pool sessions, contrast showers and sports-scientist developed prehab programs was incredible. I look forward to bringing this new knowledge back to the Far North Coast.”