I went through my coach education and was one of youngest candidates to achieve my UEFA A License which is an internationally recognised qualification enabling you to coach professionally throughout the world.
I was firstly involved with the Professional academy system where I built an academy at a club called Stockport County who were playing their soccer at 1 level below the English Premier League, the same league that has the most lucrative play off final in world soccer, with the winner of the play off final at Wembley Stadium receiving close to $150 million on gaining promotion to the EPL.
I was appointed the senior head coach just 3 years later where I became the youngest manager (Head Coach) in professional soccer in the Country. We played against such teams as Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspurs, Watford, Crystal Palace, Queens Park Rangers, Burnley, amongst many many more. I was able to pit my wits against some of the highest profile coaches in the game such as Graeme Souness who won the European Cup as a player with Liverpool as captain 3 times, Graham Taylor who was the ex England senior national team manager, David Moyes of Everton who went onto become the Manager of Manchester United, Jean Tigana who was one of the best midfield players in world soccer for France who was the Manager of Fulham and Sam Allardyce who has just currently saved Sunderland from Premier league relegation, there were some tough dark days, as is to be expected when sport is your life, you cant always win, but mostly there were great days being able to go against these coaches and have memorable victories against them.
I was then invited by the then manager of Premier League club Sunderland Mick Mcarthy who had previously taken The Republic Of Ireland team to the semi finals of the World Cup to join their analysis staff, having responsibility to process reports on games which would include tactical reports on every team in The Premier League who were our future opponents, at the time it was difficult to try and work out how you were going to stop Christiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs at Manchester United aside from locking them in their houses at game time, but where there’s a will there’s a way.
I was also responsible for providing player reports on potential transfer targets who in my opinion would be able to contribute positively to our team, I later had a very successful company that sourced and negotiated player transfers for Clubs globally, this role took me practically round the world to countries such as South Korea, China, as well as places much closer to home such as Spain, Portugal, Turkey, France, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy. I was able to spend time in the company of coaches such as JOSE MOURINHO, ALEX FERGUSON, and the current England Head Coach ROY HODGSON whom I spent a week with when he was Head Coach of FC Copenhagen of Denmark who he had just successfully qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in the clubs history. These experiences from a soccer perspective have been priceless, your ability to listen and glean information from such people is unique, a simply invaluable experience in learning there can be for any ambitious coach who genuinely wants to learn about the game and be better equipped to pass on information to the younger generation. I am privileged and fortunate to have been able to learn the hard way at time but also learn from the best.
In soccer you never stop learning, the day you think you know it all is the day you are finished, I am very much looking forward to taking my next step in my soccer life here in the United States and passing on the benefit of what I have learnt to be able to give children of all ages and gender the most enjoyable and educational experience they can have in soccer.