AFC Ann Arbor are pleased to announce Boyzzz Khumalo as the head coach for the AFC Ann Arbor women’s team. Having served with The Mighty Oak since 2016, most recently as technical director for the club, he has served with many hats. He has been a key part of the men’s coaching staff while also assisting on the women’s side during practices last season in the inaugural campaign. With collegiate coaching experience also for the Madonna men’s side, Khumalo is well-prepared in undertaking his first head coaching job with the club he has put the last four years of his life into.
Bilal Saeed, chairman of AFC An Arbor, said of Khumalo’s new role, "We're excited about this new chapter for our women's team and Boyzzz couldn't be more deserving of the opportunity. He's got an exceptional understanding of the game, he's very active in giving back to his communities and he is driven to help develop players." Much loved by players of both the men’s and women’s teams, Khumalo’s ability to relate to the players having played in the MLS with DC United makes him a fantastic man for the job.
“I felt like this would be a new challenge and this will help me grow as a coach. Something I’ve always wanted is to be a head coach one day,” said Khumalo when talking about his first impressions of taking the job. “I kind of know what’s needed or requested of us as coaches and as people.” A deep understanding of the club’s set-up makes him a valuable asset in leading the women’s team into their second season of existence.
Even in the early days of preseason, Khumalo already has ideas of the team’s composition for 2020. “You want players who can adapt right away,” he said. With the high level of player in NCAA/NAIA, though, he expects that will not be difficult. He also summarized his coaching philosophy saying, “I see myself more as a teacher, I like to teach the game. I love to see players get better, of course.”
Within the summer club season, Khumalo is understanding that the women who join the side are looking to help better themselves ahead of a collegiate season or professional future. He hopes to continue to make that possible as he said, “The same thing that’s happening on the men’s side is what we want happening on the women’s side.” With the likes of Stanley Okumu joining a top-tier European side in the men’s game, Khumalo and the club continue to eagerly anticipate the first women’s player to make that jump in competition.
Despite it still only being September, Khumalo is always continuing to learn as a coach. “With me as a person, I’m looking to learn. I still got to make sure I educate myself,” he said. He has already continued to make strides in that. He noted that in addition to attending local collegiate matches he also attended a Chicago Red Stars game “to get an idea of what the pros do” live and in person. “I watch a lot of NWSL games now just to make myself familiar with the women’s game,” he added. For now, in the offseason, the goals are to continue to support those women’s team players that were a part of the inaugural season while also continuing to look for prospective new talent.
With season one now in the books and much of the club’s ‘inaugural history’ being spoken for with the first goals, games, wins, and hat tricks spoken for, some of this pressure of the first season is now off. Khumalo has helped build up teams alongside Coach Rudland at Lansing and AFCAA, and now he will mark his own mark on the women’s side of The Mighty Oak as they continue to build off a first season with talented players and memorable moments.