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Jamie Barnett - Head Coach of ATM U21s in Malaysia

British football coach Jamie Barnett, has made Malaysia his home for over 5 years now. The Football Studies graduate who started out as a Community Coach for Cardiff City F.C, is now Head Coach for ATM F.A U21. ATM F.A also known as ‘Persatuan Bolasepak Angkatan Tentera Malaysia’ or ‘ The Malaysia Armed Forces F.A’, was founded almost 100 years ago and once had Ex-England International Alan Mullery as their Manager.

Name: Jamie Barnett

Club: ATM FA,

Location: Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Role: U21 Head Coach

Qualifications: AFC A Licence, FFA B Licence, FA Level 1 & 2, FA Youth Module 1,2 & 3, BA Hons in Football Studies

What are you up to?

Currently I am working with a Malaysian based club called ATM F.A to help develop and improve their U21s team. ATM are actually the Armed forces of Malaysia, who have a want to succeed with a team that are full time soldiers. In previous years they have used a mixture of civilians and soldiers to compete at a senior and U21 level, but now they hope to improve the quality of their players and teams by using soldiers to achieve success. My U21s currently compete in the national U21 league called the Piala Presiden Cup, which compromises of state teams and privately funded football clubs from around Malaysia. Our environment here is in the process of change - as I am sure people are aware in South East Asia, there are different cultures, beliefs and way of life, so the changes are ones towards a more professional footballing setup.

My exceptions and targets for my job are realistic to my challenge, we are in a position where development is more important over results and we are not focused on wins, draws or losses. We’re concentrating on educating the players we have, improving all aspects of their footballing career in the hope that the senior team can benefit in the future.

What’s been most beneficial towards your development so far? Any barriers faced?

The best thing so far, has been gaining experience as an Assistant Coach when I was 26 years old. I was working with a well respected ex-Head Coach of the National Team, who had an abundance of knowledge and experience to learn from. In addition to that, I would say being able to study qualifications in different countries allows me to develop not only on a personal level, but also a professional one.

Since my career began, the hardest thing I’ve faced has to be the moving of countries. Dealing with a total different way of life takes real effort but luckily, I’ve managed to adapt and have so far made a life for myself here.

How’s your development going abroad and how’s the support been from your home F.A?

Coaching abroad, more opportunities present themselves and this is another factor of my development – to work at certain levels I may of not got a chance to do in the U.K. I agree that some opportunities might have a lower playing standard/quality than some in Europe, but the chance and possibility to coach or work at a club or national level is a lot higher here.

Whilst in Malaysia, working with the FA (English) has been difficult. I was unable to continue my development with the FA due to being abroad, and many factors make the courses in the U.K very difficult to access. I’ve had dealings with them (the F.A) through email with regards to renewal of licences etc, and the response times have been extremely slow. I have to now obtain my qualifications in other countries to progress in my career although as mentioned previously, this can also provide extra personal development.

I feel the F.A should have a database of coaches who are working abroad, even have a separate department to solely focus on overseas development. I also believe there could be easier access to residential courses/intensive courses, for coaches working abroad. Currently those who qualify for such courses around the U.K, seem to be ex-pros or coaches who are very well connected within the FA (Across the UK).

Have you been met with any perceptions of British Coaches?

In my experience living and working abroad, British and other foreign coaches will always receive both double or triple the amount of pressure on them, mainly due to the expertise that we bring and the expectations demanded right from the start. The expectations can be rightly ‘expected’ due to the large salaries paid to foreign coaches, but one thing is true, success is a must and often it can be demanded immediately regardless if fair treatment has been given or not..

What’s Next For You?

My next move is to work towards completing my Pro-Licence which I will look to begin next year. In the mean time I’ll also look to complete any UEFA qualifications when possible, just to try and keep up to date with ‘home standards’. In the future, I’d like to move towards becoming a Head Coach of a senior team or national youth teams.

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