Victoria Highlanders FC are pleased to announce the selection of Thomas Niendorf as head coach of the men’s Premier Development League (PDL) team for the upcoming 2018 season. Niendorf becomes the fifth head coach in club history.
“I am delighted to join the Highlanders FC family,” said Niendorf. “The meeting and time I spent with Brett Large, Mark deFrias and David Dew has left me convinced that this is a great project for me to continue my coaching journey and I am looking forward to continuing the good work done by my predecessors.”
Niendorf launched the Vancouver Whitecaps residency program in 2008 as the residency director and head coach. Prior to this, Niendorf was the technical director and head coach of the former United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League Calgary Storm from 2000 to 2002, and head coach of former USL First Division club Calgary Mustangs in 2004. From 1995 to 2001, he was also the director of the Thomas Niendorf Soccer Training Academy.
“Thomas has a great football mind with a passion for teaching,” said Director of Soccer, Dave Dew. “Thomas understands the process to develop young players and we believe he’s the right man to take on the challenges of the PDL program in 2018.”
Niendorf is well-known in Canadian soccer circles not only as a coach but perhaps more so as a connector to the German soccer system. Niendorf facilitated the signing of Canadian-born, English International, Owen Hargreaves to European powerhouse Bayern Munich, as well as Bays United and Lower Island alumni Adam Straith from Vancouver Whitecaps residency to Germany’s Energie Cottbus.
“Thomas’ connections to the Canadian and European soccer system was an important consideration for our ownership,” stated managing director Brett Large. “His passion is contagious and his experience, network and understanding of the game are unquestioned. We are excited to have a coach with Thomas experience representing our program.”
Niendorf currently operates the Pacific Elite Soccer Institute (PESI) out of Westhills Stadium in Langford, BC. PESI provides a holistic approach to education, training, apprenticeship and team competition that will develop players both in the classroom and on the field of play reflective of a professional environment. The core programming is designed using guiding principles based on the German Elite School curriculum.