Having just completed an extensive tour to promote his book “Fully Committed” the recently retired Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund shares with the PFA his journey to writing the book,, confronting life after football and why thinks he can help the next generation of footballers.

Footballers’ tales are rarely boring and no doubt many have been told on more than one occasion that they should ‘write a book.’ Ben Sigmund heeded the advice. “Jason Pine, my co-author, said to me about three years ago ‘you should write a book’ after we had chatted about a few stories and a few life stories,” said the former All Whites defender. “He got me thinking about it and after a while I thought, you know what, I could probably write a decent book.”

After speaking to Pine the work got underway. In keeping with the whole hearted approach on the pitch it was going to be all or nothing for Sigmund. “I decided that if I was going to do this book I had to be open and honest about everything.” He did not hold anything back, from clashes with coaches to struggling to keep his motivation, he gives an honest account of all the trials and tribulations of professional football.

He is just as open about the process of getting the book to print. Together with Pine, Sigmund secured funding, paid for publishers and then at the end of the season embarked on an extensive tour of New Zealand to promote the book.

Having just wrapped the tour, it was clear it has been an exhaustive period for for him.

“We managed it all ourselves and now sitting here after a two week tour I am burnt out and shattered. It has taken a lot of energy and effort and it has certainly been time consuming but rewarding knowing that you did it all yourself and here we are now with a book that we have written and we have also toured the whole country and promoted football.”

Now hoping to forge a career in professional development and preparing to open his own business in the field, Sigmund said the book had been invaluable in keeping him busy since retiring but admitted the reality of his decision was now dawning on him.

“I have just got back from the book tour and reality has kicked in. I’m like ‘now I have to go and sort out my business and get my life sorted and bring in some money.’ I am not going to be going to pre-season and seeing my mates from the Phoenix, so for me now I have got to face reality and face the fact that I am retired and earn some money to pay the bills.

“Right now I’m freaking out a bit. I have to go into the office and set it all up and I’m pretty nervous about that. Financially I have paid the house off but there are still bills coming in and that is not going to stop. I have got a lot of opportunities around the professional development business and as long as that kicks off it should be ok and life will carry on but sure I am going to go through some challenges and a lot of ups and downs.”

Sigmund said the PFA’s Wellington Phoenix Player Development Manager Helen Regan had played a key role in him deciding to pursue a career in professional development.

“Helen is really proactive and always wanting to help and whenever I always needed her she was there and that really helped to keep me driven and we need more of it. It is hard for the younger players as they don’t realise what they are going to have to go through. The sooner they can realise that football ends the better for them.”

For Sigmund he hopes to help them get to that point sooner but he also hopes to play a major role in ensuring former players continue to be connected to the game and that their contributions are honoured and respected.

“As part of the book tour we played an All-Stars game in Auckland with a host of former All-Whites and it went really well. In New Zealand we seem to have players retire or whatever and when they are done they seem to be chucked to the curb. That is half the reason why I did the book.

“The other reason I wanted to do the book was to bring out all of the old faces. We had 15-20 former All Whites and now it is part of my goal to bring these guys out and honour them more and that way the football community can still follow them and see their heroes and we are hoping to get it on a regular basis.”

There is little doubt that Sigmund will continue to be a massive contributor to further chapters in the history of New Zealand football.


For more information on Ben’s book or to order a copy go to: http://www.bensigmund.co.nz/