WAGGA City Wanderers women's coach Sam Gray has made the difficult decision to step down.
Gray will coach the Wanderers' women's NPL team for the final time against Gungahlin United in Canberra on Sunday,.
Gray has been at the Wanderers for three and a half years. He started with the ladies under 17 team and has spent the past two and a half years with the senior women's team.
The Wanderers have started the season with losses of 13-0, 16-0 and 2-0 but Gray said his decision had nothing to do with results.
"I just think the time's come for me to allow someone new to coach that squad," Gray said.
"New eyes and a new outlook, some of the players need that in terms of a challenge. They need to be challenged to what they actually want from the game and what they want from a coach.
"The games weren't the deciding factor. The group needs a new outlook."
Gray said it was an incredibly difficult decision to step down and one that he did not make quickly, nor lightly.
"It wasn't an easy decision. But in the interests of the club and the fact that the playing group needed a change I took the decision that football has to be bigger than the person, the club needed that change," he said.
"My outlook's always positive, with football I've never been anything but positive but I think that perhaps a new coach with new methods it may spark the club and my intention is for the club to succeed.
"If I can no longer get that out of players, it dulls the enjoyment for me and it also dulls the enjoyment for them and at the root of my decision were the 28 players that play senior football.
"It wasn't something that was a knee-jerk reaction. I spoke to my wife for a long time and as a family I discussed it with them. My family have supported me. I don't have any ties with Wagga City Wanderers, none of my children play, I'm an independent coach. The confidants I have at the club and my coaching mentor, I spoke to them for a long time about it and they said to me if you're no longer getting from the game what you want to get from it, then in turn it will affect what you do as a coach."
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Reserve grade coach Rob Tuksar will step into the first grade role in the interim as the club organises a permanent replacement for Gray.
Gray informed the playing group on Tuesday night and looks forward to one last hurrah with the group on Sunday.
"I'm looking forward to this weekend. I spoke to the group (Tuesday) night and obviously there was a bit of upset in the group but understanding as well," he said.
"If you remember how young the group are, for them, I'm the only coach some of them have known. The progress that that group have made has been amazing to watch. I couldn't just say I'm going, see you later and I'm also one to help the club by staying that extra week to give them time to figure out and put something in place.
"I wish them well, I really do. I want them to succeed. The sport is the thing I love."
Gray has no plan to walk away from the sport. He is looking forward to watching more of his son play for South Wagga, while he also plans to do some media work for Capital Football.
He will also put more energy into futsal, where Wagga will host the country state championships later in the year.
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