U13B Black/Red, U17B Red
From a small town in Northern Ireland which has a population of just over 30,000 people. Ballymena has also produced some major historical and popular figures such as Alexander Campbell, a leading figure during the American Restoration Movement, James McHenry, who was one of the signatories of the United States Constitution and on a lighter note, Liam Neeson, a very talented actor and former boxer. My earliest memories of playing football were in my estate (neighbourhood) where it was generally one of the only things that kept young kids and teenagers from fighting or mischief in an otherwise very working class, blue collar town. I used to sit and watch everyone play and always wanted to join in. Long story short, when one team has 6 players and the other has 7, and nobody wants to be goalkeeper, it all of a sudden becomes very easy to become a participant.
I come from a, what you might call, a nuclear family minus the dog. I have only one sibling although my parents collectively have thirteen, so I am sure you can imagine, I still get my cousins mixed up and may be guilty of even forgetting who’s who. Just kidding, I think I know them all. I have been coaching in some capacity for about sixteen years, professionally only five or six. My favorite team is Leeds United, recently relegated from the Premier League, SIXTEEN years ago, and still trying to break back into the promised land. My favorite player(s) are George Best and Peter Schmeichel. Both ex Manchester United players and probably two of the best players in their day, or possibly ever.
I received my coaching degree at Northumbria University and have Level 2 (C License) in coaching outfield players and goalkeepers accredited by the Football Association. I started coaching for mostly the same reason as other coaches and goalkeepers. I was definitely more suited to give instructions as an observer from the sidelines given the competitive nature of football growing up. I definitely had to adapt as a player/coach early on, and I really enjoyed it. I wanted to make sure I passed on the same opportunities that were presented to me as a youth and continue the everlasting legacy that football really is for all. There is a saying back home, “football is a gentleman’s sport played by hooligans and rugby is a hooligan’s sport played by gentlemen”. I just threw that in there and still don’t understand it, I like to think football is in no way comparable to rugby.
My mentor, my role model is my dad, and it is that simple really. He has provided me with the necessary tools to teach others, with compassion, patience, kindness and understanding. If he wrote a book, it would be my favorite. With that being said, my favorite book is the King James Version. I’ve never fully read it, but my dad is the audiobook version. My favorite coaching moment is every time a player is rewarded for his hard work with perseverance and dedication to becoming better. It happens quite often, and it is special. Some things I like to do outside of football is research. Whether in history or sport. Then I try to find it with my metal detector. I also like all forms of billiards and photography. Other sports I enjoy(ed) are high jump, badminton, swimming, archery, cricket and golf. I was in a world-renowned television show (as an extra) with the abbreviation GOT. It was pretty big.