At 23 years old Andrew Taylor is a focused young man with a clear idea of what he wants to do with his life -he wants to coach football. He has ambitions to coach in as many different places as he can and would like to one day crack America, but he’s not in a hurry and is prepared to do the hard work first.
If you told him a year ago today that he would be working at Premier Sports Academy in Kuwait, an academy with an affiliation to Celtic FC, he wouldn’t believe you. While he always wanted to coach after not making it as a player, despite coming through the Derby County youth academy, his life nearly took a turn in an unexpected direction when he began working as a lecturer whilst completing his Masters degree at University.
Name: Andrew John Taylor,
Location: Kuwait – Premier Sports Academy (Celtic FC)
Role: Lead U19 coach & Assistant to the U15s.
BSc Sports Coaching
MSc Professional development (Coaching Science)
FA Level 2 (New format with youth award attached)
FA GK Level 1
FA Futsal Level 1
Past Coaching Roles:
University Woman football Head Coach & Assistant programme manager (Hartpury University – Part of Bristol University).
Assistant Coach Men’s football team (Hartpury University).
Assistant Head Coach Women’s Futsal team (Hartpury University).
Assistant part time coach Gloucester football club academy u9s (4 Months).
Summer Coach – United States (Seattle & Alaska) Challenger Sports Company.
What are the standards like over in Kuwait?
The playing ability has been a very pleasant surprise to me, I wasn’t expecting to be blown away when I took the job, however there are some very capable players within all age groups at the academy u8-u19 with numerous players easily ‘good’ enough to play in the academy systems in more developed footballing countries such as England, Spain and Germany.
You mention that you always knew that you would get into coaching as soon as you started university, how did it come about?
I joined university after quitting with my footballing career, I was a former academy player at Derby County from U14-U16 then completed my apprenticeship at Tamworth F.C playing for their academy, reserves and first team (No senior appearances).
I came very close to working as a university lecturer at my former university – I was down to the final two for the position as the sports coaching and development lecturer, which would have been a step up from my former role as a junior lecturer, whilst I completed my Masters degree. However, I was unsuccessful in being awarded the role, which I now see as a blessing in disguise. I’m now working as a coach with feet on grass and delivering what I believe in, rather than educating others in the field of coaching. I got so worked up about having the title of ‘university lecturer’ at 22 years old that I forgot what I truly loved which was coaching first hand, developing relationships and nurturing athletes & people to get better at what they do.
How easy is it to develop as a coach out in Kuwait?
Personal development is something truly lacking within a country like Kuwait, with no cpd events being hosted or national award boards promoting many forms of certification, it solely rests on you to develop through other methods, such as online networking and research of practices. The biggest development for me is to simply converse with the other coaches I work with, develop a wider knowledge of the game and how to deal/ treat players by learning from their experiences and creating a community of practice. I still stay in contact with former lecturers and teachers, so I always chuck questions their way or stories and see what they say to once again get a better view of feedback provided.
Has anything developed you more than if you were working in UK?
As mentioned before, simply talking with other coaches especially the two coaches I live with (Luke Mclean & Simon Motyka) for me is the biggest learning tool I have access to. Mainly because I see us as the ‘newer’ breed or generation of coaches who are more open minded to discuss what we know/ don’t know and want to know. Rather than the traditional coaches back home who just store information and keep it to themselves, because they want to have ‘one up’ on another coach and its selfish if I’m honest. But then again, I think it says a lot about the way football is back home, with the main predicator for a ‘good’ or ‘effective’ coach being their win percentage, or what outcomes they achieve. Rather than judging a coach on how their players feel, how their players have developed, their capacity to pass on knowledge and their actual coaching philosophies/ styles.
Are current coaching pathways suitable to help bridge development gaps between home country and current country of residence?
There needs to be a huge improvement regarding how the English FA can help develop coaches like myself who are not working in the UK. They make it almost impossible for me to further develop in terms of qualifications and coaching badges, because I am out of the country, which in turn makes me less employable. I will have to go back home and find a job for a year to start and complete my UEFA B. There needs to be some form of online HUB/ process that a coach can display their level of knowledge and understanding of the coaching awards to help become accredited up through the ladder of coaching badges.
Is moving abroad a necessity to work in football as a British Coach these days?
I definitely don’t feel you have to move abroad to coach football, but to begin with or as somebody who is not deemed professionally qualified enough to work at an elite level, you have to move abroad to earn anything that is respectable. I browse jobs online back home and see what they are asking for and what requirements you must have, but then they refuse to offer a wage in which you could be independent 100% of the time, for how many hours they want you to work. But that is of course only my view and a sample of roles I have seen advertised.
Do you have any inspirations or anything that drives you?
From my own experiences there are some very confusing life choices to make, but also some very simple ones which we over-complicate as humans. The easiest way to go and enjoy what you do and develop is to, 1) Surround yourself with the right people, day in and day out, don’t waste time on friendships or working relations if they poison what you do or want to do. I’m very blessed to have met my friend Luke Mclean whilst at university, and now currently working in Kuwait together as well, you learn so much from those around if you are willing to open your own thought processes and accept that you are wrong more than you correct. 2) Say Yes, 12 months ago if somebody had offered me a job in Kuwait coaching I wouldn’t have even considered it, simply because it’s natural to hate change, especially that drastic. You need to learn to accept change and embrace it, change is what helps us learn, its where you discover how you react outside your comfort zone.
What’s next for you? Where would you like to work and how do you plan to get there?
The only thing I have set regarding my future, is that I wish to coach in America on a full-time basis. Maybe when I am older, but that’s a long-term goal. Currently I am embracing the freedom I have with exploring a new country and doing what I love on a day to day basis, as a sports coach. I aim to go where my coaching journey leads me, if that’s coaching in Kuwait for a period of time then that suits me, but I would like to see as much of the world as I can with coaching being my sole job. As time goes on, I know that I will be working towards developing my ability as a coach, because I wish to work at a level in which the players are striving for professional contracts or if in America, being drafted from college into the professional scene.
Anything holding you back?
With my age and my current role, I don’t see many obstacles stopping me achieving my goals, however, the only thing that may slow my progress is my desire to see the world, travel with my coaching and work in as many new and inspiring places as I can. I want to coach in America, South America, Asia and across Europe to develop me as a coach but also as a person, so that one day when I do settle down with my coaching, I hope to the best possible version of myself that I can be.
Looking at moving abroad for your next role? Read our guide to accepting a contract overseas!