When the Head Coach was sacked in November, I was trusted to have a more important role within the staff and started as Interim Assistant Coach for 2 months.
Name, age, where you are based?
Josselin Junker, 25, France
My contractual relationship with FC Sochaux Montbeliard just ended. I had a double function there (even a triple one, until December as I was translator for Head Coach Jose Manuel Aira) as I was assistant coach and match analyst.
I would propose, deliver and lead sessions according to my managers needs and provide all kind of reports for players and staff regarding opponents, as well as analysing our own matches and training videos.
I have the UEFA B Licence, delivered by the Spanish Football Federation and will get my A Licence at the end of september 2019.
I also hold a number of Masters Degrees including one from Real Madrid University, in 2017, where I had the chance to have tutors from Real Madrid, Villarreal, Sevilla FC, Ajax Amsterdam, PSV Eindhoven, AZ Alkmaar, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad ,among others.
How did you get into coaching And what has your path been like?
I got into coaching thanks to a teammate I played with in the first team of my local football club. One day he asked me to give him a hand with his U12's, I went there on a Saturday, I liked it and started to get more involved every day that went by. At the end of the season, I wanted to coach as head coach and my local club gave me the U12's for next season.
During the summer of 2013, an offer (volunteer work) came up to go to an orphanage in Chhattisgarh, India, to be an English teacher and football coach for girls aged 7 to 19yo. It turned out to be one of the best experience of my life.
After the 2012-13 season I spent another one with the U13's at my local club and due to my move to Cardiff University, I had to leave my local club and I started getting in touch with people in Wales, in order to keep coaching.
Someone from the FAW forwarded my email to Damian Flynn, who was in charge of girls and women's football at the time, and he was able to get me involved in the same area. After a month he mentioned my name to Daniel Smith, Academy Coach and “Supervisor” for the Foundation, who got me involved in the Academy, as well as in ADCs and ACCs.
At the end of the 2014-15 season I was again, moving due to University business and landed in Sevilla, Spain. I had met a group of Spanish coaches sent by the Spanish Federation during my stay at Cardiff City, one of them happened to have a cousin who was a fitness coach in Sevilla's third club : AD Nervion, and this led me to get involved as Assistant Coach and Match Analyst for their U16s. I was in charge of some sessions and specially dedicated to scout opponents in Spain's southern region : Andalucia.
After my season at Nervion I joined Sevilla FC's U17 as Assistant Coach/Match Analyst. The chance to be around a professional setup and to witness and participate in the process, made this season a memorable one and soon after for the 2017-18 season, an opportunity came up with Granada CF, recently relegated to Spanish Second Division.
The role was as a Match Analyst for the U23's and Scout for the First and Reserves Team. Again, it turned out to be a great learning process, especially towards the end as I was appointed Match Analyst for the First Team for the last 11 matches of the season.
For the 2018-19 season, Sochaux-Montbeliard called and asked for my services as Match Analyst and Translator. I was in charge of analysing our matches and trainings, as well as providing opposition reports to staff and players. This season turned out to be a very difficult one in many aspects, specially the main one - results....
As I am more of a “Growth Mindset person” I took the challenges and daily difficulties as learning opportunities and it gave me huge experience and knowledge. When the Head Coach was sacked in November, I was trusted to have a more important role within the staff and started as Interim Assistant Coach for 2 months.
What's been some of your highlights?
- Worked/Volunteered in 4 different countries
- Worked with 4 different pro football clubs in 3 different countries
- Speaking 4 different languages (Spanish, Italian, French, English) and learning a 5th one (Serbian)
- Worked close to/with 5 different coaches in 2 years
- Worked with players : Adrian Ramos, Momo Sissoko, and soon to be well known Lucien Agoumé, Boris Moltenis, Elisha Owusu
What is your training focus with your current team/players and what are your main duties in your role?
My main duties in my most recent role at Sochaux was to prepare, lead and deliver sessions as well as analysing our matches and opponents. But the function I most enjoyed this year was to focus on the individual development of players. I deeply believe in the “team aspect of the sport” and it is exactly for that reason that I think that the more capable the individuals are, the better the team will be.
So I started focusing on individuals and how they can get better, not by imposing my will but by discussing and debating with them in order to see what their needs and what the needs of the team with regards to them are. The players, staff and I established an individual plan (regarding all aspects of the game, depending on the needs) for players to focus on in training and matches.
What’s the environment like where you have lived and what are the main things that take some getting used to?
Everywhere I went (Canada when I studied there for 3 months when I was 16, India when i was 19, UK and Spain) I had no problems adapting. I think it is only about the mindset; about trying to adapt to the culture, the people, the weather, the customs and being flexible about everything, - 'you can only fill up a cup of tea when it is empty'.
What footballing cultures have you experienced?
In France, there naturally is a football culture, especially in poor neighbourhoods. Success had by the National Team or let's say PSG winning, helps to keep kids attracted to the game.
In Wales I was in the South where football is stronger than Rugby and the 2 main clubs, Cardiff City and Swansea already have a structure that doesn't exist in most clubs in France, helping to develop their identity and influence: their Foundations. But obviousely, the football culture is very strong in the UK.
In Spain, especially where I was staying, Andalucia, the football culture is everywhere, especially the competitive football culture. Everyone cares, deals with or knows about football. The passion for the game and the competitiveness I witnessed there was one of the best experiences of my life.
The only place I went where the culture is not so strong was India (I need to mention that I only stayed there for 2 months, and it was in an girls orphanage in the middle of the lost state of Chhattisgarh). Of course, Cricket has a massive influence there.
What differences are apparent in terms of coaching or working in the country compared to your home nation?
France is mainly about the technical aspect (“inside of the foot”, dribbling lines of cones...etc)
and Spain showed me a very very high competitive aspect of the game.
UK got my attention regarding the importance and focus given to the development of players and not only concentrating on the result..
What’s been the best thing for your personal development thus far?
The best thing that I learned is to detach myself from what is happening - nothing in football is about me. It is about what is needed. We, as coaches, matter in a certain percentage, but we are not the whole.
What things have been challenging in your current or past roles?
Adapting to the different situations. Dealing with all sorts of people (players, members of staff, workers of the club, supporters ) and trying to grasp the environments as soon as possible.
The future -what’s next for you?
I'm patiently waiting for all of the seasons to end in order to see what is offered/available. It will be at the highest level and hopefully full of challenging opportunities.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
All kinds of sources; close friends and family, daily situations, movies, news, reading books, reports, watching documentaries, watching matches and sessions all over the world..etc