Somerset Coach takes on Manchester City
Alex White takes us through how his journey and learning from the UEFA B Coaching Course has benefited him, his team and ultimately their exciting tie against Manchester City Academy in the FA Youth Cup.
His team got to the latter stages of the competition after defeating Bath City, Bridgwater Town, Brockenhurst and Aldershot Town. They then lost to Sutton United, who had fielded an ineligible player and were therefore subsequently disqualified from the competition, progressing Clevedon to face Manchester City Academy at the Everyone Active Stadium.
Could you explain your experience on the UEFA B?
Initially before the course I was slightly apprehensive not knowing what to expect, but my initial worries were soon forgotten. Over the season, the course provided me with a unique insight into so many factors of coaching such as session relevance and planning, tactical understanding and match day behaviours. I met some fantastic coaches and people on the course, supported by great tutors who were willing to devote so much time and effort to aid the development of the learners. It was by far the best FA Course I’ve ever been on.
How has the UEFA B benefitted you as a coach?
The course gave me an invaluable insight into myself as a coach. It helped me to understand my identity and core philosophies and values and how I could influence and portray that within my coaching. On top of that, it helped me challenge myself to deliver sessions that was best suited to the players’ needs using a variety of different coaching methods and technology to aid my impact of what I am trying to achieve with my players.
You’ve been an integral person in the development of Clevedon Town, with a number of youth players breaking into the first team squad over the previous 18 months. How did you find the experience of coaching against Man City in the FA Youth Cup this season?
The Man City experience was so unique and exciting I genuinely think I’ll remember the game and the week’s building up to it for the rest of my life. In amongst all the excitement, it was my job to work with the players and structure a game plan that we felt was best suited to being as competitive as possible in the game. We studied them for weeks beforehand and every session and game for 3 weeks was building up to the Man City game. It gave me the ideal opportunity to put together everything I’d worked on in the season before on the course and actually put it into real practice in terms of session designs, opposition team analysis and tactical gameplans. It felt like being involved in professional football as every minute of every day I was thinking about the game and the planning towards it. It gave me the bug for more. The game itself was so enjoyable and I tried to take in as much as possible and learn from the experience. In truth we did really well on the night and all the hard work was worth every second. It didn’t stop there though, the week that followed was all about the analysis of the game with the video footage and then looking at what we did well, what we could do better and what the next plan of action was. It’s an ever-revolving door and the course taught me that more than anything.
Somerset FA attended the game and were very pleased with how the team represented themselves, the club and the County. You can view pictures of the match below.