Former National League soccer coach, Willy Gerdsen, has given football away in favour of his new passion … coffee.
Willy and wife Anja are the new owners of The Coffee Club, in Wainui Road, Silverdale.
Football fans will recognise the name Gerdsen, as Willy is a former Young All Whites and Junior All Whites coach. Under his direction, these teams competed internationally including the 2013 World Cup.
He also spent 10 years at East Coast Bays, where they won five NRFL titles and the Chatham Cup in 2008, but more recently has been coaching the Canterbury United Dragons in the ISPS Handa
Premiership, steering them to the semi-finals in all but one of the four seasons he was in charge.
He has a Masters degreee in health science and his coaching licence is the second highest football qualification in the world.
But now it is the smile on customers’ faces rather than the roar of football crowds that interests him.
“Anja and I wanted a business that we could work in together,” Willy says. “We both love coffee and have trained as baristas with this café in mind.
“The franchisor gives us all the background support we need, but still allows us to put our own personal touch on the café.
“Our primary focus is on catering for locals and being part of the community.”
With that in mind, the café is already sponsoring sports prizes at Silverdale Primary and Stella Maris School, and anyone wearing a uniform automatically qualifies for a discount.
Willy hopes to build a loyal customer base by providing consistently good food and excellent service.
The café, which can cater for up to 88 diners, has been totally refurbished and is designed to be a versatile space that can be sectioned off for groups or meetings.
Willy says that being German, organisation comes naturally and he is also drawing on the leadership skills he learned from football.