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Pauline Buckman: Football Family

Few people were surprised when Pauline Buckman started playing club football at age 13, least of all her parents, Bill and Lynda van Kooten.

A family tradition

Pauline had grown up spending most weekends at the Havelock North Wanderers Football Club (HNWAFC), which was almost a second home for the van Kooten family. Her father played for the club for 40 years and her mother, along with Shirley Lothian, was instrumental in establishing the women’s teams back in 1975. Pauline’s sisters have also played for the club.

“Havelock North has always had a strong female representation and we’re seeing huge growth now with three women’s teams, each with good numbers, and a lot of youth coming through.” Pauline says.

Club history

The club itself was formed in 1948 as Hastings Wanderers and Hastings United.

The latter folded, and when the Havelock North Borough Council offered the club Anderson Park, the name changed to Havelock North Wanderers AFC. The club soon outgrew Anderson Park and they moved to their current home ground at Guthrie Park.

HNWAFC play in different divisions across the Central North Island. The club’s men’s and women’s teams have both played in the Central League - the second to highest league in NZ.

Apart from a stint overseas and one season at Napier City Rovers, Pauline has played continually for her club. These days, while still playing when she can, Pauline spends more time in an organisational role on the club’s board.

The next generation

It‘s now her children’s turn to continue the family football tradition. Her son and daughter both started playing in the mixed boys and girls ‘First Kicks’ programme.

Her daughter Bonnie (13) later joined an all girl team who played in a mixed league, and eventually started beating some of the boys teams, while her son Baxter (11) has been selected for out of region training camps and tours.

“I think a lot of girls will be inspired by the FIFA Women‘s World Cup here in New Zealand,” she

says. It’s going to be huge for the women’s game.”

Pauline is hoping to catch a couple of the FIFA WWC games in Wellington and - if lucky enough to get tickets - the final in Sydney. And of course, her daughter will be going too!

The value of physiotherapy

As for her impressive longevity as a player, Pauline credits Focus Health for helping to keep her on the field as long as possible. Football requires a high level of fitness; match fitness is important and warm ups are essential.

Muscle strains and injuries to knees and ankles are a sport-related risk for most players, while goalkeepers may have to contend with hand and finger injuries as well. Post match recuperation and prompt physiotherapy intervention can make a big difference.

Read more about the FIFA 11+ injury prevention exercises for footballers here.

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