It’s 24 hours that Christopher Naumoff will never forget.

On the verge of securing a dream move to Europe, Naumoff arrived at Spanish Segunda club Numancia in June 2016 with the world at his feet.

The next day, that world came crashing down around him.

Naumoff’s story is well known within the Australian football community; during his medical, it was discovered Naumoff had a potentially fatal heart condition – Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

Instead of living out his dream as a professional player in Europe, Naumoff was forced into premature retirement.

At the age of just 21.

Considering the magnitude of that life-changing 24 hours, Naumoff would have been forgiven for turning away from the sport that had promised him so much.

However, despite grappling with the challenge of retirement in his early 20s, Naumoff has channeled his energy back into game that, ultimately, is his life’s passion.

And through dedication, sacrifices and achievements of a different type, Naumoff has established himself as an emerging coaching talent in Sydney.

So much so, Naumoff was recognised by the PFA as a Coaching Scholarship winner in early July – and now has the chance to live out his dream overseas once more.

Aimed at ensuring PFA members have access to world class development opportunities, the PFA Coaching Scholarship is awarded to a PFA Member that has demonstrated a profound commitment in pursuit of coaching excellence.

Through the Scholarship, Naumoff hopes to gain further valuable knowledge through a PFA placement; likely to be at a high-profile professional football club overseas.

“Since my retirement, my motivation was to continue making a living through the sport I have so much passion for; football. It’s therefore an honour to be awarded the PFA Coaching Scholarship.

“I have put great effort and time into my coaching career and to be given this award will add more experience and knowledge to what I have learned so far.

“The scholarship will allow me to experience a professional environment and see the finer details of what is involved in a successful club. It will allow me to use the things learnt both on and off the pitch to work towards being a better coach.”

Not content with a career outside of football, Naumoff has honed his coaching craft by undertaking his coaching qualifications and recently completed his B-Licence, established his own coaching academy and has worked with Sydney based NPL clubs as a coach and technical director.

“Through hard work, long days and determination I am pleased that so far I have been able to make this possible. I was recently appointed SAP and Youth Technical Director at Bankstown City, I am a Head Coach at Sydney Grammar School, I have both selected and coached the NSW Combined Catholic Colleges U16 Team, and continue to hold sessions under my company KIK Football.”

Naumoff has also undertaken a PFA Beyond the 90-work placement at the FFA Centre of Excellence with Tony Vidmar.

“In early 2017, I undertook a work experience week at the Centre of Excellence. It was a very professional environment and was both enjoyable and challenging working under Tony Vidmar and Peter De Roo, from who I learnt key information from.

“The highlight of the placement was planning and taking a full session from start to finish, with some of the best young players our country has to offer.”

Fondly known as ‘Kiki’, Naumoff established KIK Footbal last year, a coaching company focusing on smaller scale football sessions, including one-on-one sessions, with the aim to grow it into a full academy with weekly sessions from 2019.

“My goal is to grow the academy to provide young players of Sydney with higher quality coaching and training, and I believe that with the experience I have gained through playing and coaching so far, as well as participating in this scholarship it will give the academy another level of professionalism.

“It is hard to name all the important people who have played a part in my career so far. I have learnt off many successful coaches as a player and use this knowledge in how I work to this day. I must make special mention to my family and close friends who have supported me in my sudden career change.”

Naumoff, who was awarded his PFA Scholarship in front of his peers at the PFA’s Annual Induction/Outduction program in early July, said the PFA’s programs provided players transitioning to ‘life after football’ with important life skills.

“The PFA Outduction gave me a great insight into life after football whether it be dealing mentally, physically or financially with retirement, there was something to take away from each topic to build a stable, healthy and successful future after football.

“The highlight of the program was both catching up with former team mates and opponents, as well as hearing from guest speakers who have experienced and overcome great difficulties in life.

“I must add a very special thank you to everyone at the PFA. I truly feel their support has been a major factor in me moving through such a difficult period in my life. Whether it has been help with coaching education, work placement and now the Coaching Scholarship award, I feel very privileged to be part of such a great family in the PFA.”