Name, age, where you are based?
Dan Evans, 34, Toledo, Ohio, USA
I’m the Director of Youth and Academy at Pacesetter Soccer Club. I’ve previously held positions at Football West as a Coach and Coach Educator, the Australian National Premier League as a Technical Director and both the Men’s and Women’s West Australian State league as a Head Coach.
Completing my FFA A license, FFA community and advanced instructor, Bachelor of Communications, SAQ license, Coever license, LaLiga level 3, United Soccer Coaches Advanced National Diploma and United Soccer Coaches Director of Coaching Diploma.
How did you get into coaching?
I coached my brother's u11 team when I was 14, I’ve been coaching ever since. From a young age I saw coaching as a way to supplement my playing and when I retired I moved straight into coaching.
What is your training focus with your current teams?
I’m working with the younger age groups predominantly so my focus is on skill acquisition and the development of core skills. Sessions need to be enjoyable. I also driver coach Education so I’m always challenging my staff to commit to being the best they can be.
What’s been the best thing for your personal development?
Coaching courses help but I can honestly say I’ve learned just as much from other coaches. Sharing ideas and resources. When I was younger I always had time for those more experienced than me and I’ve learnt on their experiences over the years. Being a good listener and having an open mindset is so important. Not letting your ego get in the way of your own development is important. I’ve seen good young coaches limit themselves because they won’t listen and I’ve seen older coaches become irrelevant for the same reason.
What things have been a difficulty?
Coaching full time requires a lot of sacrifices. I love it but it’s challenging at times. There is very little job security and hours can be long and unsociable.
Has anything developed you more than if you were working in UK?
Travel has helped my coaching. Meeting people from different backgrounds and sharing ideas. Seeing how the game functions in different environments and getting ideas from different experiences.
Has your development as a coach been hindered by not being in the UK?
Being in the UK you are emerged within the professional game. Outside of the UK you need to drive yourself to maintain professional standards and seek out progression opportunities.
Are current pathways suitable to help bridge development gaps between the UK and America?
There are challenges in the US game like any other country. ‘Soccer’ within the US is a very competitive business so as a Director you need to be educated in the business side of the game just as much as your on field performances. It’s very competitive commercially.
Do you feel you need to move abroad to coach to work in football?
Having spent the majority of my career in Australia I felt I needed to move on to progress my career. That’s not to say I’ll never return but given the state of the game financially there are limited opportunities. Any coach with ambition should seriously consider a move.
How do you feel British coaches abroad are perceived?
There are a number of British coaches in Australia and America. The UEFA qualifications are regarded highly so coaches who arrive with badges are held in high regard. There is a big move to up-skill local coaches but if you arrive with qualifications and experience you will be well received.
The future -what’s next for you?
I want to continue to enhance the environment I’m working in now. Making my club as good as possible and providing players with the best possible experience. Coach education plays a huge role and I’m driven to improve my staff. I’m constantly looking at opportunities to develop myself further and progress my career so where I end up I don’t know but while I’m here I’m driven to do the best I can.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Generally being a student of the game. I’m always seeking ways to make myself the best possible coach I can be. I don’t think you should ever stop learning and evolving yourself as a coach or director. I’m a competitive person and I strive to be the best I can be to progress my career and to help improve all of the coaches and players within my program.