iCanCoach: Adam Dean
Tell us about how and why you got involved in coaching football?
I’ve always played, ever since I was 6 years old, and my dad used to coach so I always had some exposure to it while I was growing up. It wasn’t until a friend at work asked if I wanted to help with his U14 team that I thought “why not, let’s give it a go”. Perhaps I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into at the time, but it lit a fire and I haven’t looked back.
What do you enjoy about coaching football?
I think helping players to love the game that I have loved my whole life, and to see them develop as players and individuals. When you see a player or a team do something in a game that you have been practicing, or doing something that they have never done before, it’s such a rewarding feeling. Also, the relationships you build with players, coaches and parents can be a really special thing. I moved over to coach in the US in the summer and saying some of those goodbyes was really tough.
What is your best memory of coaching?
That’s a hard one. One that sticks out is a 10 second moment from a U7 gala, I had been working with the group for a number of months and we had really been focusing on hiding the ball, ball mastery and dribbling, very much aligned to the Foundation Phase DNA, which i’m a big fan of. One player who was maybe more recognised in the team for his defending and being strong in a tackle, he wins the ball, he hides it from the other team, he looks up and sees the open field in front of him and he goes (boy, does he go), he runs with the ball under control right up to the goal and unfortunately doesn’t score... but it was something I’d never seen him do before. Those little things make it all worthwhile.
This summer has given me some incredible memories as well, I was working on Chicago Fire’s summer program. The coaches and the players I’ve met along the way have been amazing and I feel very lucky to have had the experience.
What do you want to achieve in coaching football?
Everyone is different, but my personal aim is to be able to make a living from doing what I love, which is coaching football. I’m fortunate enough to be working as a “soccer” coach in the US, but I know I have an awful lot of experience to gain, and ongoing development, if I want to progress further.
At a different level, a big achievement for me would be to help players love the game and help them develop into good people. Very few will make it as professional players, but I think as coaches we can have a huge impact on those things.
What are the biggest obstacles you have faced in coaching football?
Probably self-doubt and wondering whether it’s something I can take further. The move in the Summer was massive for me and I think it has really helped with my confidence, it felt a little bit sink or swim! Also, I think coming into a role where my philosophy may be quite different to the previous coach or the previous experiences players have had. Getting players, parents and other coaches on board sometimes isn’t easy.
Who’s had the biggest influence in your coaching career and why?
I think coaches I have worked with or observed have been the biggest influences, some for positive reasons, some not so much! My dad is a really positive influence, he is always supportive and someone who will share his opinion and his years of experience. Jonny Heath at Farsley Celtic Juniors was really the first coach I worked with and his support, advice, constructive criticism, ideas and general outlook have been massive in my journey so far. Feels like a shameless plug, but it’s absolutely true, all the staff I have worked with at the West Riding FA have always been really helpful and have been a huge part of my development to date.
What advice would you give to people wishing to get involved in coaching football?
Do it! And when you do... be humble, be curious, be positive and enjoy every second of it. If you enjoy it, there’s a pretty good chance the players will too.