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Our approach
What players and parents have to say about the Shane Rufer School of Football in Palmerston North.

Success Stories

Players from the Shane Rufer School of football have achieved the following:

  • 10 children participate in Soccer New Zealand national camps
  • 56 children participated in Manawatu rep. team
  • 90% of players on the current New Zealand Intermediate School Tournament winning team attended the School of Football.


I‘d like to thank you for all of the help you've given me with my football skills over the last 4 years. I have really appreciated your advice and all of the stuff that you've taught me. Even though I've got some good skills, you have helped me identify and improve the weaknesses in my game.

There have been a lot of highlights for me, especially the trips away that included:

  • The 2010 Japan Tour
  • Bus trips to Phoenix games in Wellington
  • 2009 WYNRS tournament in Auckland
  • Games against academies from other areas

What I enjoy most of all about your football sessions are the 1 on 1 games, free kick times and the small sided games along with juggling and skills.

Kind regards
Matthew Hilson

I have been going to The Shane Rufer School of Football for almost a year now. He has taught me alot this past year. I am much better at my juggling, turns and my left foot play. I enjoy going to practice because we always have something exciting to do and I really enjoy the tournaments as well.

With all the training I have been doing with The school of football I have now reached my goal of getting into the rep team for this year. I might not have got in if it wasn't for Shane.

Anna Robson

I really like going to your club after school and in the holidays.I especially like the one on one matches and ''knock out''.It's really fun and I recommend going if you are into soccer.It's a good way to meet up with friends after school and get to play against them or with them.

Lewis Grigg

I like soccer training with Shane becaue there's lots of fun and games and skills to learn. Now I'm one of the best players in my team.

Harry Auckram - 7 years old.

I have been going to the Shane Rufer School Of Football since I was 6 years old.Shane is a great coach because he is always positive and keeps me challenged.I have fun at training and enjoy the small sided games we play.I"m always learning new football skills with Shane and the more I practise the better I am getting.He also gives me tips on how I can improve my game. It was fun when we all went to the phoenix game together on the bus.

Elijah Just (age 10 years)

Your training is the coolest thing in the whole universe and I like that you setup all the goals before you start so I think that you should get an award from the government saying how good you are.

Yo, it is me Michael Poff, nine yrs old.

For the last year Shane has been coming out to Huntley School on a weekly basis and helping with a group of our keen football players. He has been exceptionally well received by the boys and staff alike. Whilst we have coaches for our football teams we are finding that Shane's input is giving us the added edge. His coaching style provides high action and full on involvement for every boy. This keeps the boys interested and motivated to improving their skill level.

As a person Shane is approachable and adaptable, he has helped train our coaches as well as the boys and he is able to cater to every coach's ability. I thoroughly recommend Shane as a coach and look forward to our continued association with him.

Yours truly,
Bradden J. Gay
Headmaster Huntley School

Shane is a great role model and shows great positivity in his coaching and will help you go a long way in football. Shane will push you to the limit to get the best out of you.

Daniel Mulholland

Shane is a good coach to get you ready for football and a head start to be a professional. He is very good for young players and for developing fundamental skills.

He organises overseas trips which only a few people could do and organise in New Zealand. He gives you opportunities which only a few kids could get in New Zealand.

Shane is an experienced coach and has played overseas as a professional himself and therefore is very experienced and knowledgeable.

Jordan Mulholland

I toured Japan as a manager with Shane and his management team of 4 adults, and 16 players in April 2010.

The tour was for 14 days and involved visits to Hiroshima and Yokohama for 1 week each.

In my view, the tour was an extremely well organized and well run expedition, with a total focus on the players' football development and education, but with a cultural exchange and fun factor built in.

There were numerous enjoyable aspects to the trip but for this reference I would like to concentrate on just a few factors that I believe made this trip an exceptional and unique experience:

Shane's football coaching/style
Shane is a very positive and knowledgeable coach. His pedigree and experience as a former professional player and professional coach means he is highly qualified, speaks and coaches from a position of experience. His manner is positive, calm and always fair and constructive.

Being a home grown Kiwi but with professional European experience with major European clubs he offers a rare and invaluable perspective.

High powered friends in Japan
On the tour the team played against Junior teams from top clubs in the J-League (Japanese professional league). As such, the team was exposed to leading Japanese junior players. The standard of football was extremely high. The Japanese players were very disciplined and dedicated. By example, our players learnt from the Japanese of these qualities of dedication, commitment and professionalism. This has not previously been experienced by the players from NZ.

The facilities that the team trained at and played at were an exceptional quality. Games and trainings were on full sized Astroturf pitches, with fantastic club facilities.

There were numerous expeditions organized on the trip including visits to local family houses, national museums and historic sites. At all times we had an English interpreter with us.

The team was well equipped with sports attire and always looked smart in their team colours, and on the team bus etc. Overall, it was an exceptional trip and experience for both players and management! I highly recommend the trip as a very worthwhile activity, especially for any young player serious about developing their game to their potential and being able to experience top level junior football.

Sean Mulholland

 I have been going to Shane Rufer’s Football School for about three years and every time I loved it.  Shane challenges you, with him interfering with a game and putting you with harder players.  His daily routine starts off with 20 pull backs, 20 inside stops, 20 outside stops and then usually juggling.  Once we’ve warmed up he puts us in great fast moving games sometimes 1 on 1’s, 2 on 2’s and so on, till you really get knackered.  It’s not just Shane who’s great but also the other children that are great as well.  I really enjoy going and feel my game has improved.

 Sam Byrne

There is no doubt that the Shane Rufer School of Football is a great asset to our community. With so many young people now choosing to play the 'beautiful game' it is important they are given the opportunity to develop their skills to the highest level.

Shane's commitment to football and to the development of young players is exceptional and his dedication is already paying off as more and more young people are exposed to his programme. I can speak from personal experience after seeing my own son make huge strides in skill development as a result of spending some time under Shane's tutelage.

I commend this programme to you and wish Shane and the team all the best for the future.

Jono Naylor

Mayor. Palmerston North.

The 2010 Japan tour was a trip full of cultural exchange, hard work and overall, learning. It was a trip I will never forget.

Firstly, the cultural exchange part of the tour was just amazing. Seeing such stacked up houses was something I've never seen before. Although Japan's population is around 130,000,000, I can guarantee you every single household is immaculate. When we first arrived, the subway was so full, breathing was a struggle. However, oddly, it was really quiet, especially inside the train. From the tour, I can conclude with the statement : 'New Zealanders and the Japanese, culturally wise, live on different planets.'

Secondly, the main purpose of the trip was about to improve our football. Although size does matter in football, the Japanese have their skill and speed to compensate for their height and size. Their football was so fast, one touch was our only option. I can tell you, when you had the ball at your feet, you were a wanted man. Two of them would just sprint right at you, like hunting dogs. Nonetheless, from the tour I can see my football has improved widely and I am now playing much quicker.

Lastly, the 'learning' factor of the tour was my favourite. From learning how to speak the language to learning to make Sushi, it was all in great fun and priceless experience. 

Overall, the Japan tour was an amazing experience, and I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of it. I really hope the U-11's will have as much fun in Japan as we did.

Yours Sincerely,
Faisal Kilani 

Hi Shane,

Thanks for all the skills and drills this year. I made the second rep trial this year, which was pretty cool. I am playing under 19's for TAS and all the skills you have been teaching me are being put to good use, as I am the youngest in the tea. See you on Thursdays.

Daniel Garner (13)

Hi Shane,

Thanks for coaching me again this season. I have gone from 46 to 123 juggles now. I have also made the under 11's development squad so far. I am having a great season.

David Garner (10)


I have been going to the Shane Rufer School of Football since 2008,back then I had a juggling record of 7, could never win a game and along with this I was the only girl.

It seemed the persistence, practise and hard work paid off as now I can do thousands of juggles and win most games.
The Shane Rufer School of Football helps you improve all aspects of your game and gives you opportunities to go on international tours.

In April 2010 I was privileged to attend the first Japan Tour, this was an amazing experience I will never forget, I enjoyed the food, visiting the 2002 World Cup Stadium and especially the football. These tours expose you to another level of football and allow you to experience a completely different culture.

I think attending the Shane Rufer School of Football has increased the reality of my dream of being a Football Fern.

All the best to the 2011 Japan Tour and future international tours, make the most of it, have fun and work hard on and off the pitch.




Hannah Robért, 15 years


Hello, I went to Japan with Shane Rufer and I had the best time of my life.

I made a lot of friendships with people in the team and friends with Japanes kids and their families.

The football was amazing and I still remember every game like it was yesterday.

I had the best time ever and I learnt heaps from the experience, especially getting coached by Shane. I learnt a lot from his coaching.

Curtis Jones (15yrs)

Since participating in the Shane Rufer School of Football Academy I have developed both intellectually and physically. When I say intellectually, I mean the way in which I go about playing the game as the positive coaching advice that Shane gave me is inspiring.

I remember when I first came to Shane Rufer, I could hardly juggle at all, whereas now I have proudly achieved a personal best of 56.

Whilst developing my football skills, my fitness levels have developed as well due to Shane's one on one games, which make me work very hard.

I was privileged enough to represent New Zealand with the Shane Rufer School of Football Academy in Japan, in 2010. This was an amazing experience over a 15 day period which I will remember forever. The cultural experience was memorable. The respect and discipline that the Japanese had was amazing and this taught our team many things, on and off the pitch. The football experience was one in a lifetime. The game play that the Japanese use is very quick. This made our play a lot quicker as well. When I came back from Japan I felt that my passes were a lot firmer and got to the player a lot faster, which overall has improved my game.

Chantelle Leban (13yrs)

The Japan tour 2011 was an experience of a lifetime. It was fascinating, exciting and definitely never boring. We were always on the go from 6.30am to 6.30pm. Our tour guide Kiyoshi was amazing. He was always organised with things to do like visiting temples, going into schools and a really good part of it was the homestay. My favourite part of the tour was the junior Asian cup tournament. We did really well and came 12 out of 20. It was so much fun. On the trip we even got to play Sanfrecce Hiroshima. I really hope we can go back some time. I really rate this trip 10/10 - it was fantastic.

Thank you so much Shane for making this amazing experience possible.

Lewis Grigg (11yrs)

Japan 2011

We are the kids from New Zealand down under. Who travelled from a land of beauty and wonder.

We went to Japan another beautiful land. To challenge ourselves with some great game plans.

We went to play football in the cold winter weather, it even snowed, "wow could this get any better".

We were a new team with 16 boys and 2 girls, we played pretty well with encouraging words.

The whole trip was well planned, very well organised. The football, the culture, museums, schools, and the malls was so much fun we all had a ball.

We would like to thank Shane, Dominic, Sadie, Dean, Kevin, Dianne and Paul for making it possible for us to go on this 2011 tour.

Dalton Wilkins (11yrs)

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