New year, new game plan for Honeybears
THE last 12 months has seen a number of highs and lows for Chinchilla's tenacious senior women's football team.
2018 was a transitional season for the Honeybears, with a majority of the team being under 20, but that didn't stop them from dominating on the field.
"It was a tough, tough year for the girls, but they still managed to qualify for the finals,” Honeybears coach Tim Taylor said.
"It's a program I implemented about three years ago when I first got here and started coaching the ladies team,” Taylor said. "We hand-picked some of the junior female players and once a month they joined us at senior training.
"So when they were old enough to make that step up to the seniors division they knew what was coming, because it is a big step up from juniors to seniors.”
The 2018 season saw the selected juniors get their first taste of the senior division, with things getting off to a rocky start before finishing off the season strongly and unfortunately losing the semi-final round 1-0 to Dalby.
"This year we've got some more senior players returning after having a year off, and the younger players now have a year under their belt so we're expecting a big season this year,” Taylor said.
Taylor, 36, recently received his advanced C Licence in coaching, meaning he is now qualified to coach football at a national premier level.
The seasoned football coach originally hails from the Sunshine Coast, but now calls the Western Downs home having just launched his new personal training business, TJ1on1 Football Training.
Taylor has already coached the likes of local legends and former Honeybears, Alyssa Cox, Natalie Stevenson and Imogene Forest, who all qualified for the Junior National Premier League in 2018.
It was a bittersweet moment for Taylor, who has mentored the girls for two years, knowing once they qualified for the league they would no longer be able to play for the Honeybears.
Cox, 15, has managed to secure a spot on the Brisbane Roar women's under 17 team and is moving to Ipswich Girls Grammar to follow her dreams of becoming a professional football player.
It's an incredible opportunity for the talented striker, who only took up the game a few years ago after a lot of pressure from her two siblings.
"If I want to take the next step towards a career in football I have to take this opportunity and see where it leads me,” Cox said.
The Queensland representative was travelling up to 20 hours a week to get to training sessions and games in Toowoomba and Brisbane this year, and still managed to keep her grades up despite all the late nights.
"Alyssa was one of the junior players we pulled up to train with the ladies team, we managed to get her signed off early so she could play one season for the Honeybears before I saw the potential she had, and I knew that she was ready to move on from here,” Taylor said.
"I sent an email down to the Brisbane Roar for them to have a look at her and then she did the rest.”
"The selection process was a little daunting, there are a lot of really talented players there and they all want the same thing,” Cox said.
"Sometimes you find yourself thinking, 'am I meant to be here?' It's all a bit of a mental game.”
Cox said there were a number of sacrifices she had to make to get to where she is now, but having a coach like Taylor to foster a sense of belief in you can make all the difference.
"I think the big thing for me, coming from the Sunshine Coast, I know those kids get all the opportunities in the world,” Taylor said. "That's the reason I started my business, was because of the success we had with Alyssa and a couple of other girls.”
The passion Taylor shows for the game and the local players is evident in his attitude towards his business.
"There are some really talented players out here who just needed that helping hand to get noticed, to make it to the next stage of football,” he said.
To find out more about Taylor's one on one training opportunities, head to the Facebook page @tj1on1 or contact Tim Taylor on 0422 828 132.