Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on hello@boards.ie for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact hello@boards.ie

Now ye're talking - to a soccer coach working in Abu Dhabi

Options
  • 03-09-2019 11:37am
    #1
    Boards.ie Employee Posts: 12,597 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Boards.ie Community Manager


    Our next guest is another Irish person living in the Middle East and gave us this introduction the their story:
    I'm a U.E.F.A B licensed soccer coach who is coaching full time in Abu Dhabi with a club that is not associated with any professional team. After realising that what I was studying in college was not what I wanted to pursue, I enrolled in a female-only F.A.I/FÁS Soccer course (now ETB) in Dublin. This course gave me the opportunity to start working my way up the coaching ladder while obtaining a Level 5 FETAC award in Sports And Recreation. I worked my way up to securing my U.E.F.A B license in 2017 (the only female on a course of 28 people). Secure coaching opportunities in Ireland are few and far between so I decided to try the Middle East and here I am!


«1

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,371 ✭✭✭Gloomtastic!


    Hi,

    Thanks for doing this. Do you know the teacher we had on last week? :P


  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 10,416 Mod ✭✭✭✭artanevilla


    Football coaching is, from what I can see, largely male dominated.

    What challenges have you faced firstly in Ireland (generally a progressive Western society) versus a country like the UAE, with not the best human/women's right record?


  • Site Banned Posts: 41 thesiegeof


    I don't know if you want to divulge this information but what are the wages like out there? You can save a lot?


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,086 ✭✭✭HalloweenJack


    What differences do you notice in the attitudes of Irish kids and kids in the UAE?

    (I may be assuming you teach kids but I think I read that was the case in one of your posts on the matter before.)


  • Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 21,502 Mod ✭✭✭✭Agent Smith


    Do you have a bedside locker?

    Whats in your bedside locker?

    Are female sports well funded in Abu Dhabi?


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 3,761 ✭✭✭Donnielighto


    Is the money good enough to justify working and legitimizing somewhere with their human rights record?


  • Company Representative Posts: 24 Verified rep I'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi, AMA


    Hi,

    Thanks for doing this. Do you know the teacher we had on last week? :P

    :pac: No I don't! It is a small world though. I went to a gaelic session last night and one of the girls in my class from secondary school was there. Was a bit of a surprise to both of us!
    Football coaching is, from what I can see, largely male dominated.

    What challenges have you faced firstly in Ireland (generally a progressive Western society) versus a country like the UAE, with not the best human/women's right record?

    You may be surprised but I haven't had many challenges put up against me in terms coaching in Ireland. My local club, the part-time jobs I've held and the coaching courses I've attended have all been very open and welcoming. The biggest challenge is being a female on your own in the courses (and the coaching uniforms I got were always too big).
    I've always been bull-headed in that regard. I was the only girl playing with boys (GAA) when I was young and that was a theme in college (I did a course that was 90% male) and the coaching courses.

    My biggest obstacle in Ireland was actually getting the opportunity to play the game!

    Thankfully, I've had no issues with parents having a female coach their son. They've been very welcoming towards me.

    However, I had one horrible experience in my short time in Kuwait. There was only 2 females on site as our male coach had to leave to be elsewhere. We had a father come in to speak about signing up his son. He said to us that he didn't want a female coach for his son or any girls in his sons team. He asked us had we played football growing up and we said yes. He laughed and said girls shouldn't be playing football.

    Needless to say he didn't get to join.
    thesiegeof wrote: »
    I don't know if you want to divulge this information but what are the wages like out there? You can save a lot?

    Do I get the wage and benefits that a teacher gets? No.

    Do I make enough to save a decent amount? Absolutely.

    Would I get paid this much at home? Not even close.
    What differences do you notice in the attitudes of Irish kids and kids in the UAE?

    (I may be assuming you teach kids but I think I read that was the case in one of your posts on the matter before.)

    You assume correctly. I'm a youth coach and I work with children from the ages of 3(!) up to 10.

    The biggest difference on the pitch is physicality. Irish kids get stuck in.

    These expat kids and Arabs are slightly more molly-coddled and spoilt and it can show. It's quite something to see a 7 year old basically offended by someone daring to take the ball of him in a physical tussle.

    Manners. Irish kids are more mannerly. I'm a VERY mannerly person and one of my goals is to make sure that every child finishes the season with me saying please and thank you on a regular basis.


  • Company Representative Posts: 24 Verified rep I'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi, AMA


    Do you have a bedside locker?

    Whats in your bedside locker?

    Are female sports well funded in Abu Dhabi?

    Yes I have a bedside locker.

    I have my techno gadgets (USB, powerbanks etc...) in the top drawer of the locker and I have my coaching workbooks and reading materials in the bottom drawer.

    Outside of school, no. We are trying to change that. There's a big drive behind the Women's UAE national team but the pool is so small. The expat clubs don't really benefit from that.
    Is the money good enough to justify working and legitimizing somewhere with their human rights record?

    It's a selfish answer but their human rights record has not really affected me so I haven't thought about it.

    However, I hear "but they treat their women horribly there". Then I remind people how we've ****ed up with our own women in Ireland in the past 30 years with the Magdelene Laudries, Mother and Baby homes and now the Cervical Screening scandal.
    We haven't done a great job ourselves.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,381 ✭✭✭✭Galwayguy35


    Playing outdoors does the heat get to you or have you gotten used to it by now?


  • Company Representative Posts: 24 Verified rep I'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi, AMA


    Playing outdoors does the heat get to you or have you gotten used to it by now?

    It's less about the heat and more about the humidity. We are outdoors from 3.30pm until 7pm this week and Sunday was fine, Monday was ok but not great and today was just disgusting. The kids were struggling.

    The temperature was in the low 40's when we kicked off and the mid 30's when we finished.

    You do adapt though. I will be freezing in December and January mornings and evenings. I'll be wrapped up when the temperatures will be what Irish people will strip down to bare nothing for on a summers day at home! :pac:

    When the weather starts getting really hot we run less programs and get as many as we can indoor and the schools will move us indoors.
    One thing I don't understand with schools here is that when it comes to the final term (April - early July) they'll have us indoors but when we get back in September we are outdoors. It's just as hot in September so if it was too hot in May then it's too hot now. You do suffer through those few weeks.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 809 ✭✭✭Sir_Name


    Playing outdoors does the heat get to you or have you gotten used to it by now?

    It's less about the heat and more about the humidity. We are outdoors from 3.30pm until 7pm this week and Sunday was fine, Monday was ok but not great and today was just disgusting. The kids were struggling.

    The temperature was in the low 40's when we kicked off and the mid 30's when we finished.

    You do adapt though. I will be freezing in December and January mornings and evenings. I'll be wrapped up when the temperatures will be what Irish people will strip down to bare nothing for on a summers day at home! :pac:

    When the weather starts getting really hot we run less programs and get as many as we can indoor and the schools will move us indoors.
    One thing I don't understand with schools here is that when it comes to the final term (April - early July) they'll have us indoors but when we get back in September we are outdoors. It's just as hot in September so if it was too hot in May then it's too hot now. You do suffer through those few weeks.
    +1 to this! I also live in Abu Dhabi, and the last week or two, you have had days where you think the temps are dropping and then blasted with heat and humidty the next! 
    How were you recruited for the role, did you apply? I find a lot here outside of teaching and nursing are recruited through linkedIn. 
    Did you always want to work abroad? I am curious if you are here for a "finite" period to save and return home, or see how it goes, move elsewhere etc!
    Have you visited many countries?


  • Company Representative Posts: 24 Verified rep I'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi, AMA


    Deanov wrote: »
    +1 to this! I also live in Abu Dhabi, and the last week or two, you have had days where you think the temps are dropping and then blasted with heat and humidty the next! 
    How were you recruited for the role, did you apply? I find a lot here outside of teaching and nursing are recruited through linkedIn. 
    Did you always want to work abroad? I am curious if you are here for a "finite" period to save and return home, or see how it goes, move elsewhere etc!
    Have you visited many countries?

    I was subscribed to football/sports specific job vacancy boards. LinkedIn is quite popular within football too. I try to connect with as many relevant people as I can.

    No, I never had really thought about working abroad but an opportunity with a club in Kuwait was a gamble and I managed to get that one. Now my experience there wasn't all that positive but I knew I'd regret it if I didn't give the Middle East another chance.

    I have no "end date". I feel I can progress and learn a lot here so I'm going to leave it open. I can't see there being much for me to come home to in my field any time soon. The only full time jobs are the very few at LOI (and I've NO interest in that) or as a Development Officer with the F.A.I.

    I've visited 8 but would only say I've ever lived in 3. I was born and lived in England for a couple of years, then moved home to Ireland and now I'm in to my 2nd year here.

    I'm not sure if 3 months in Kuwait really counts?


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Regional East Moderators, Regional North West Moderators Posts: 12,070 Mod ✭✭✭✭miamee


    You mentioned in one of your posts that you coach kids from the age of 3. What kind of things do you do with the small kids? I have a nephew who is soccer mad but he's only 2 years and 2 months old so a bit young for any clubs just yet :D Are they really just chasing each other and a ball up and down the field?

    What type of social life do you have in Abu Dhabi? Is it similar to Ireland or is it more focused on other things?


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,086 ✭✭✭HalloweenJack


    The biggest difference on the pitch is physicality. Irish kids get stuck in.

    These expat kids and Arabs are slightly more molly-coddled and spoilt and it can show. It's quite something to see a 7 year old basically offended by someone daring to take the ball of him in a physical tussle.
    That's a great point to bring up as it relates to something else I was wondering about.

    I played schoolboy football back home in the 90's and 00's and the emphasis was very much on size and physical play while our training sessions always started (and ended) with laps around the pitch. By the time we got into tactical or technical stuff, we were already shattered. I played for several different clubs and it was common at all of them.

    I've lived in Spain for a while now and I play football quite a bit here. I play with a mix of nationalities but the ones from Ireland and the UK tend to have a more physical approach and don't have as good technical skills.

    On the other hand, Spaniards are all about playing with the ball at their feet and passing it around. It is clearly something that is drilled into them from a young age. The slightest bit of contact can get a foul called against you and, similar to what you mentioned above, they can almost be offended that someone would try to win the ball from them with a bit of force. I play with a lot of Moroccans too and their approach is practically identical, though they tend to moan even more.

    Are you aware of any change in the coaching mentality back home towards a more technical/less physical approach to youth football? Is it something that is being emphasised in training courses?


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,499 ✭✭✭Sabre0001


    What are your thoughts on having matches that are win or lose from a very young age? Kinda ties into the above, but do you think there would be any merit in emphasising the skill sets, fitness, etc. for certain age groups rather than promoting win at all cost mentalities?

    🤪



  • Registered Users Posts: 73 ✭✭nf2k


    Thanks very much for doing this - very interesting! How do you manage hydration in the heat? Do you have to have a strict timing for taking water on board?


  • Company Representative Posts: 24 Verified rep I'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi, AMA


    miamee wrote: »
    You mentioned in one of your posts that you coach kids from the age of 3. What kind of things do you do with the small kids? I have a nephew who is soccer mad but he's only 2 years and 2 months old so a bit young for any clubs just yet :D Are they really just chasing each other and a ball up and down the field?

    What type of social life do you have in Abu Dhabi? Is it similar to Ireland or is it more focused on other things?

    I go to nurseries. Not my favourite sessions of the week! :D

    Our program for 3 years old revolves around fun games and moving their bodies so they can work on their motor skills. They do this without and with the football. Jumping, catching, throwing and kicking are our main movements we try to replicate.
    Our main goal with the ball at that age is to get them to understand small kicks (for dribbling and ball retention) and getting them to know how to stop the ball with the bottom of the foot. I do this by making them stand like an airplane and then I test them to see if they have a strong airplane by pushing them :pac:
    We don't play matches with them. It's pointless! We will introduce them to 1v1 play so they have a chance to succeed and grow in confidence and not just spend 10 minutes getting their shins battered!

    I lead a very anti-social life. I am the anti-teacher schedule. Last year I had Fridays off (Friday is the 1st day of the weekend here) so I would try and go for breakfast with the couple of friends I have made outside of my job. This year, I will have Thursdays off so pretty much no socialising to be done there.

    I am, however, going for afternoon tea on Friday afternoon and I'm looking forward to that! But I was never a social person at home either outside of going to the pub to watch football matches with friends. I'm not massively in to drinking so can easily go months without.

    I play with the GAA club and they have socials but teachers tend to stick together and that's a hard mould to break when you're not a teacher.


  • Company Representative Posts: 24 Verified rep I'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi, AMA


    That's a great point to bring up as it relates to something else I was wondering about.

    I played schoolboy football back home in the 90's and 00's and the emphasis was very much on size and physical play while our training sessions always started (and ended) with laps around the pitch. By the time we got into tactical or technical stuff, we were already shattered. I played for several different clubs and it was common at all of them.

    I've lived in Spain for a while now and I play football quite a bit here. I play with a mix of nationalities but the ones from Ireland and the UK tend to have a more physical approach and don't have as good technical skills.

    On the other hand, Spaniards are all about playing with the ball at their feet and passing it around. It is clearly something that is drilled into them from a young age. The slightest bit of contact can get a foul called against you and, similar to what you mentioned above, they can almost be offended that someone would try to win the ball from them with a bit of force. I play with a lot of Moroccans too and their approach is practically identical, though they tend to moan even more.

    Are you aware of any change in the coaching mentality back home towards a more technical/less physical approach to youth football? Is it something that is being emphasised in training courses?

    There really has been a huge change in mentality at coaching courses about this. They are doing their best to equip coaches to develop players rather than to be a win-at-all-cost coach. I've never been to a course that delivered a practical session starting with laps. Not to say there isn't a place for it but you just know that coaches at grassroots level are doing it because they don't know any better. The professional players do laps but they do it with a purpose. It has its place in the right hands.

    We have limited time with players, most who don't practice beyond their club sessions, we HAVE to have the ball in play as often as we can. Laps don't help us achieve our end goal.

    You think Moroccons are bad? Egyption clubs and players are a whole other ball game!


  • Company Representative Posts: 24 Verified rep I'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi, AMA


    Sabre0001 wrote: »
    What are your thoughts on having matches that are win or lose from a very young age? Kinda ties into the above, but do you think there would be any merit in emphasising the skill sets, fitness, etc. for certain age groups rather than promoting win at all cost mentalities?

    One thing I think we do excellently at home is that there is no league (or shouldn't be) until u12 and they don't have official referees until that age either.

    There's an U9 league here and it goes all the way up the ages. I think it's a bit daft but it is what it is.

    My club is not about winning at all costs, however. If they were I wouldn't be here. I take the age groups that compete in matches every weekend but scores are not recorded and there is no table. It's purely about developing the players.

    My primary focus on match days is achieving the outcomes that we worked towards in training during the week. That outcome is NEVER winning but let's not be silly, everyone wants to win. It's why we like to compete.


  • Company Representative Posts: 24 Verified rep I'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi, AMA


    nf2k wrote: »
    Thanks very much for doing this - very interesting! How do you manage hydration in the heat? Do you have to have a strict timing for taking water on board?

    I'm glad you find it interesting!

    It can be difficult but I always try and have the children dictate the water breaks. I don't know how they are feeling so no point putting a timed schedule on it. I try and give as many as I can.

    The only thing worse than no water is warm water. Especially from a plastic bottle! I have a glass bottle and that stays cooler for longer.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 8,371 ✭✭✭Gloomtastic!


    What do think of the decision to give Quatar the World Cup?

    The fact that you get paid to teach football. Is that down to the fact that there are no parents willing to volunteer to coach kids, like we have here?


  • Company Representative Posts: 24 Verified rep I'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi, AMA


    What do think of the decision to give Quatar the World Cup?

    I think there was some brown envelopes and back handers for sure. It is grim reading about how the workers are treated and having to change the schedule so it can be played away from the searing heat is frustrating.

    I'm not sure if I'll go if I'm still here. Only if Ireland get through and the flight ban has been lifted will I consider it.

    I saw Qatar play at the Asian Cup and they won it so they shouldn't be cannon fodder.
    The fact that you get paid to teach football. Is that down to the fact that there are no parents willing to volunteer to coach kids, like we have here?

    They are too busy here for that craic! And most have money to burn.

    There is one club that is based on volunteers and it's no surprise that they don't really compete at the right end of the table all that often. I spoke to one of the coaches today and he says that this is his final year. It's too much hassle.

    But if you want to run a successful coaching business then you need to have quality coaches. And to get quality coaches you need to pay for them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,538 ✭✭✭✭Trigger


    Do you eat the local cuisine? Or do you import your own food over, I've had friends abroad who live for their "care packages"

    Also Mars Bar or Snickers?


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,231 CMod ✭✭✭✭Black Swan


    Hey 'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi,

    Grand thread, with good questions and answers. Very informative. Thanks for participating.


  • Company Representative Posts: 24 Verified rep I'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi, AMA


    Trigger wrote: »
    Do you eat the local cuisine? Or do you import your own food over, I've had friends abroad who live for their "care packages"

    Also Mars Bar or Snickers?

    To my shame, I haven't tried that much Emirati cuisine. I'm definitely going to rectify that this year.
    I have never had anything imported and certainly wouldn't be living my life for a care package.

    I know what you are at. ;) Snickers though! Had a mini one last night actually.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,092 ✭✭✭The Tetrarch


    Do you think coaching small children will produce good footballers?
    (Many greats came from poor countries or were street footballers.
    Once a week coaching is not enough time on the ball to develop players.)

    Do parents expect their children to become good footballers when the children have coaching?


  • Company Representative Posts: 24 Verified rep I'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi, AMA


    Do you think coaching small children will produce good footballers?
    (Many greats came from poor countries or were street footballers.
    Once a week coaching is not enough time on the ball to develop players.)

    Do parents expect their children to become good footballers when the children have coaching?

    Not necessarily. I will certainly try and do my best to make them a good footballer (as all youth coaches should) but some children just don't have the necessary passion and drive so no matter what I do, they will not be good footballers. All I can do at that point is make sure they still like sports and maybe they excel somewhere else on the sporting spectrum. That's fine by me.

    Lots of those players who succeeded from poor countries did nothing but play on the streets. Honing their skills hours every day. The best of those players became professional because at that point it's about teaching the intelligence and decision making. That's easier to do with a 12 year old than it is to teach them how to win a 1v1 situation with a skill.

    Once a week is certainly not enough and a match every second weekend isn't either. That's what most kids only get in Ireland.
    We have our best players training 1.5hrs twice a week and matches every weekend. And unless the child is insanely talented, that is probably not enough either. It's why maximising our time on the field with the ball is so important.

    Good enough to be professional? No, 99% of parents are not expecting that at all.
    Should they be expecting a better player than their child was last year? Absolutely. We'd be failing in our jobs if every child wasn't improving year on year.

    Of course there is always that deluded parent who thinks their child is the next Messi and for some reason, they are often the weakest players on the team. :confused:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 40,061 ✭✭✭✭Harry Palmr


    Did you have any pause for thought about working in a state which is an authoritarian theocracy.


  • Company Representative Posts: 24 Verified rep I'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi, AMA


    Did you have any pause for thought about working in a state which is an authoritarian theocracy.

    Not particularly, no.


  • Advertisement
  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,638 ✭✭✭✭bangkok


    Are there any players from that region who you think will do well at a big club in Europe?

    Do any big players from Europe ever go to where you are to do some coaching?


This discussion has been closed.
Advertisement