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Daz Meehan - In the Right Place at the Right Time

Name and Age:

My name is Daz Meehan aged 47 years young

Tell us about yourself

I played football since the age of six and like many others never made the grade at the top level. I played for local teams in the North West County as well as represented team GB for the Fire service in the 2004 World Firefighter games in Hong Kong, winning silver. I have coached several amateur teams in the North West of the UK and before I left the UK was coaching my sons team South Shore Academy in Blackpool.

I am currently Technical Director of Football for the Turks and Caicos Island Football Association, one of the 211 members of FIFA. I have been in this role for the past two and a half years.

Turks and Caicos is a very small Caribbean Island with a population of about 35,000. Having been head coach of the Women’s National team, I am currently coaching the Men’s National team in preparation for the CONCACAF Nations league where we play Cuba, Guyana, St Vincent and British Virgin Islands.

Coaching Qualifications

I will have completed my A License in September 2018, which I am doing with the New Zealand FA. I also have: FIFA Technical Directors FIFA Advanced Coach FIFA Beach Soccer Advanced Coach CONCACAF E License CONCACAF D License FIFA Futsal Basic Course FIFA Futsal Advanced Coach FIFA Women’s Coach UEFA Online Player and Match Analysis

How did you become the Technical Director of Football for the Turks and Caicos Island? I was in the right place at the right time to be offered the role. My wife, son and I came to the Turks and Caicos in 2015 as I was offered a job as a Fire officer as that was my primary role in the UK. The first thing my son and I did was visit the National stadium, whilst there I was approached by a lady who running the Women’s National team. She asked if I knew about football and told her I have been coaching in the UK for over 15 years and she invited me to take a session for the National team. I took her up on her offer and after the first session she offered me the role as head coach. My first game was three months later against the Bahamas. I was told the WNT had never won a game, with three months intense training we went on to win beat the Bahamas 3-2. I stayed on as WNT Head Coach for nine months, after that I was offered the job as Technical Director for the country so I had to make a choice give up working for the Fire Service, an industry which I had been working in for 17 years in the UK and continued over here. I had to take my dream job when I was offered it and have not looked back since.

Tell us a bit more about the role…

The job is fantastic, and I love developing this small football Island. When I first took the role I spent the first 6 months looking at the youth set up and coaching education. We have kids from U7s right up to our National teams. The ability is varied from total beginners to exceptional players, both youth and National players.

Within 12 months we had our first International final win with our U13s winning in the USA 2016. We have had a few ‘firsts’ since I have been in charge; first ever win for our Men’s Beach soccer team in the World cup 2017 as well as U17s Girls Beach soccer team winning Bronze in the Common wealth games 2017.

How has the role been for your personal development?

The best thing personally for me is the opportunities to develop myself within the CONCACAF and FIFA courses I get invited to. I was invited to work with the Mexican National set up, working with Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago FA. We have had Manchester City and Manchester United come over and run some football clinics and six of our players being offered to go to other clinic with their coaches. We have managed to sign a deal with Real Madrid who will be here in 2019. One of our National players is playing in the USA at San Antonio Scorpions as their main striker and his partner up front is the legend Didier Drogba, it’s a great advert for the footballers of this country.

What has been difficult for you?

Personally, the hardest part working so far away from the UK is missing my family. I have three daughters and a close family back home and I only see them when my wife and I travel back which is usually only once a year.

Professionally, it’s very difficult to apply for higher UEFA badges i.e. A license, Pro License as the FA don’t seem to want to give opportunities to British coaches who work abroad and make it difficult. This is the reason I went down the road of pursuing my A license with the New Zealand FA

What has been the best thing about the role for your personal development?

The great thing about this role it has allowed me to compete with other coaches at World Cup Qualifiers, whether that is for beach soccer or for grass football, I would never get that exposure in the UK. How do you view development and job opportunities for coaches in the UK?

Speaking with some of my friends in the UK who work with professional clubs and academies they are saying its getting crazy to get a job now. I looked the other day and just for a casual coach with a U7s team they are asking for coaches to have an A licence -that seems crazy!!!

I feel there are so many qualified coaches in the UK now it’s getting hard for young coaches to gain experience especially if they only have level 1 or 2 qualifications and with clubs demanding more, like youth modules too, it becomes ends up costing more for coaches to complete the courses.

Perception of British coaches

I can only say I have had positive experiences working abroad as a British coach. I work closely with all the other Caribbean coaches and I get a lot of respect from them. Like I mentioned before the exposure and experiences I am getting is better than I would ever get in the UK. The Future

I am very happy in my role at the moment, but if other positions were to come up I would be willing to listen to them and see if it would be the right move for me and my family. When you work abroad you are on a contract, so you never know what could happen in the future.

Inspiration for other coaches

If you are just starting on the coaching ladder I would highly recommend trying to coach in as many countries as possible as working with different cultures and abilities will hugely help as a coach to make you more versatile and flexible also it helps with networking.

Apply for as many positioned as possible and really sell yourself even if you don’t have the qualifications they are asking for. Whenever you travel on vacation visit national academies or clubs as networking is the best thing for coaching like the old saying goes “it’s about who you know rather than what you know”.

BFCN Says....

Being 'in the right place at the right time' is how you get to make use of 'it's about who you know rather than what you know'.... Get yourself in the mix, invest £1.72 a month and put yourself in a position to get what you want! The last week has seen jobs posted for Japan, India, China & the U.A.E. Opportunities to get out and coach, experience culture and network are on a plate.

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