Coaching with Villarreal CF in Spain

Not many British Coaches are coaching so close to a professional setup in Spain these days, but Vicky Yarnold who started coaching at 15, has ended up there and is learning along the way through her coaching path.

Name, age, where you are based?

Victoria Yarnold, 22 years old, Valencia, Spain.

Current Role:

I am currently completing an internship with Villarreal CF, working as an academy coach for the Pre-Benjamín B (U7) team. In addition to this, I carry out tasks for the clubs’ international department, including research and translation.

Back home in England I am studying a bachelor’s degree in Sport & Exercise Science and Spanish at the University of Chester, and as part of my course I am required to spend a year abroad working within a Spanish speaking country. This placement year was the ideal opportunity to gain valuable sport related experience in preparation for my future.


At present I have the FA Level 2 in Coaching Football. I have also achieved several Sports Leadership Awards, up to and including Level 3 Certificate in Higher Sports Leadership.

I would be interested in getting onto the coaching ladder in Spain and completing a course with the Spanish Football Federation (Real Federación Española de Fútbol).

How did you get into coaching and what has your path been like?

I started coaching at the age of fifteen. In school I was involved in a Sports Leaders programme, during which I was required to complete some voluntary work. I contacted my local grassroots football club, Harborough Town FC, which I already had connections with having played at the club from a young age. From there I was given a position as an assistant coach for the U13 girls’ team.

Once I had completed the required number of volunteering hours, I made the decision to continue working with the team since I was enjoying the new experience. Two seasons later I was offered a managerial role for a newly formed U11 girls’ team. I took on the challenge and to date I still consider it one of my proudest achievements as a coach, and the biggest step which really kickstarted my coaching career. At the age of 17 I was managing my own team, leading the training sessions and taking control of the admin, all while studying my A-Levels, playing football for my own team, and refereeing.

Before attending university, I took a year out of education. This gave me the opportunity to focus on my personal and professional development as a coach and gain further experience, which ultimately helped me clarify my career path and where I wanted to go with my degree. I started my gap year in the summer of 2016 by working for UK International Soccer in the San Francisco Bay Area, running AYSO summer camps and assisting parent-lead teams during the fall season.

Following my return to England I went on to manage the U13 girls at Harborough Town FC once again for the remainder of the 2016/17 season. During this time, I also worked for a local sports provider, A Sporting Hand, where I delivered weekly football sessions to children aged 3-6. Once the season was over, I returned to work in the United States of America, this time with YESsoccer where I was assigned to Chicago Fire Soccer Club to deliver their summer camps.

When I started university in Chester I found a position as an assistant coach for a local grassroots team, Westminster Park FC U10 Lions, for the 2018/19 season. I also completed my FA Level 2 project with the team. The summer proceeding the season I made my return to America with YESsoccer.

Despite this vast history of experience with different age groups and abilities, in both England and the United States of America, it was a main ambition of mine to combine my love for football coaching with Spanish. After some time searching and contacting various clubs in Spain, I found a coach development internship with Villarreal CF which is where I am currently at.

So far, the experience I am gaining and opportunities available to me have been unimaginable. The position I’m in now, working for a La Liga club and coaching in their academy is something I envisaged once I have finished my university degree, and once my level of Spanish has excelled.

One of the key influences of increasing my involvement in coaching is my history of knee injuries. At the age of 16 I sustained my first ACL injury while playing for my school football team.

The 12-month recovery period following reconstructive surgery meant I had to take a step back from playing. At this point I was already volunteering at Harborough Town FC, and I saw coaching as an alternative way to maintain my involvement in the sport. Within my first week of training with the University of Chester women’s football team, I sustained my second ACL injury, only three years after the first. At this point it was almost certain that my time as a player was over, and therefore my focus turned to coaching.

What is your training focus with your current teams and players, and what are your main duties in your role?

As a coach within the academy, one of my main roles is to instill the club methodology into the players and prepare them for a future within professional football. As opposed to isolating skills, learning frequently takes place withi