Some years back, having been a parent on the sidelines, our then U7’s coach rang me up one evening and said he was going on a 3 week break and whether I could help run training sessions with the kids as cover. I reluctantly agreed, unfortunately he never came back to training, however fortunately I got the opportunity to coach and from that moment on an emotional journey and bond with my players began. For all those involved in any aspect of coaching, you will only too well know the high’s and low’s, but more importantly you will understand that this is an opportunity to make a positive impact on someone…..but now I have called it time-out…….for now!
The moment of my announcement!
Like Pep, a sabbatical means focusing on the Foundation
When Pep Guardiola announced he would not be renewing his rolling one-year contract, it came as a shock to the footballing world, as if something was being ripped out from Barcelona FC. I can recall his final press conference, him holding back the tears while some of his players let theirs flow.
On Saturday 11th May I had a similar experience. My young U10’s stars are no less in comparison to Pep’s boys, however I had a lump in my throat whey I announced I would be stepping down as coach and taking time out. I had it in my mind to step down however it’s always a difficult thing to do. My players had been with me since U7’s, the times when the whole team could be seen chasing the ball all at once as if they were trying to catch a chocolate wrapper flowing in the wind. I have amassed so many great memories from my time in coaching, from the Portuguese winger “Wilson” who once saved a goal, had a huge smile and realised he was standing behind the line (bless him) to little Samir who almost transformed into a tiger-like personality the moment he stepped on the pitch.
Memories Plenty, however one sticks out!
I will always remember Sunday 15th January 2012, apart from the fact it was my Birthday, we were also up against a rival team in the league, a team we hadn’t beaten ever since we started playing them from U7’s. I remember our team going 0-2 down at half-time, some of the parents gesturing to themselves that this would go the same way as before. Then, in the second half, a transformation, after 18 minutes the match was all square at 3-3, we were over the moon as the team were on the cusp of a famous draw. Then, a burst down the right, a gem of a cross and on cue our striker headed in the winner; it was also the first time any player in our team had scored with their head. The noise level erupted, we had finally overcome a major hurdle, and the boys began to believe. Just for note, we have played our rivals on 4 further occasions to date, winning 3, drawing 1.
On Saturday 7th June, I attended our club presentation night and addressed my team for the last time. It wasn’t a Sir Alex Ferguson style speech but I certainly felt very emotional, all those high’s and low’s were racing through my mind. I couldn’t praise them enough, but I told them how “honoured” I was to have been a part of their lives and how I was so very thankful that they had shown the loyalty, discipline, courage and keenness to train and play games each and every weekend.
For now….it’s break time but I hope to refresh my notes, liaise with some experts and sometime soon hit the coaching side back again.