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03-09-2019, 11:37   #1
Boards.ie: Niamh
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Now ye're talking - to a soccer coach working in Abu Dhabi

Our next guest is another Irish person living in the Middle East and gave us this introduction the their story:

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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!
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03-09-2019, 12:24   #2
Gloomtastic!
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Hi,

Thanks for doing this. Do you know the teacher we had on last week?
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03-09-2019, 15:12   #3
artanevilla
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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?
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03-09-2019, 16:22   #4
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I don't know if you want to divulge this information but what are the wages like out there? You can save a lot?
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03-09-2019, 16:30   #5
HalloweenJack
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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.)
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03-09-2019, 17:49   #6
Agent Smith
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Do you have a bedside locker?

Whats in your bedside locker?

Are female sports well funded in Abu Dhabi?
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03-09-2019, 17:50   #7
Donnielighto
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Is the money good enough to justify working and legitimizing somewhere with their human rights record?
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03-09-2019, 17:58   #8
I'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi, AMA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gloomtastic! View Post
Hi,

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

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Originally Posted by artanevilla View Post
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.

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Originally Posted by thesiegeof View Post
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.

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Originally Posted by HalloweenJack View Post
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.
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03-09-2019, 18:02   #9
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Originally Posted by Agent Smith View Post
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.

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Originally Posted by Donnielighto View Post
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.
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03-09-2019, 19:09   #10
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Playing outdoors does the heat get to you or have you gotten used to it by now?
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03-09-2019, 19:28   #11
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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!

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.
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04-09-2019, 08:21   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi, AMA View Post
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Originally Posted by Galwayguy35 View Post
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!

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?
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04-09-2019, 09:33   #13
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Originally Posted by Deanov View Post
+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?
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04-09-2019, 16:36   #14
miamee
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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 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?
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04-09-2019, 16:47   #15
HalloweenJack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I'm a Soccer Coach in Abu Dhabi, AMA View Post
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?
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