iCanCoach: Jacob Mistry
Tell us about how and why you got involved in coaching?
I first got involved with coaching during my sports course with Craven College, when we went to Finland for 2 weeks to coach foundation phase footballers. It was a great experience and felt very rewarding, and I felt a desire to continue coaching from that point. I then went onto coach Barnoldswick Town u10s, before heading off to University in Liverpool to complete my Degree in Sport Coaching. During my time at University, I really began focussing on coaching as a career, and fell in love with the tactical side of the game, before joining the University Of Liverpool Mens FC as a First Team Coach and 2nd Team Manager. I worked closely with Head of Football, Fran Alonso, former Everton and Southampton 1st Team Coach, current Celtic Women's Manager. After a season there, I left to take on the role of Head of Womens Football at Liverpool John Moores University, another brilliant experience where I was working with Championship and National League players each week. We won the league and cup double unbeaten during my one and only season there. After I finished University, I was offered the chance to take the reins at Silsden AFC with the u23s. This was my first step into local non-league football, in which I fell in love with it. I worked with high level footballers, ex academy players and young talents, with the aim of getting them to the first team, in which we were very successful with many players. From that point, I felt I was ready to move onto 1st team football at non-league level, and joined Barnoldswick Town. I was a first team coach there, planning and delivering the training sessions. After a short stint, I am now coaching a new National Team, based out of the UK, with the Kashmir FA, working with players who have international caps, National League, and talented non-league players. It's a great opportunity!
What do you enjoy about coaching football?
I enjoy many aspects of coaching and managing in the game I love. First and foremost, the social side, building relationships with players, fans and staff are very rewarding. I love the thrill of a game, it's hard to describe but during those 90 minutes on a match day, there is nothing quite like it. It gives you the highest of high and lowest of lows. For me as a coach, I have taken a passion to the tactical side of the game, I enjoy the finer details of the game and the uniqueness of every coach's team. Setting up a plan and seeing it transpire successfully onto the pitch is a feeling that's hard to top. Every game is so different and requires different input as a coach, it's not something i think I will ever get bored of, also the fact i am constantly learning new ideas, it never stops. I aim to work in football coaching for many many years, as I’m still only 22, with great experiences under my belt already. Seeing players develop, progress in their careers, reach new heights, seeing a close-knit team spirit being built, and of course winning matches, these are rewards that make all the hard hours worth it!
What are your greatest achievements in coaching and why?
My greatest achievements in coaching as of yet are winning the BUCS League and Cup double with LJMU, unbeaten. The team had been relegated the season before, and without the additions of many players, it was brilliant to turn things around and bring such success to the club. Furthermore, seeing some of my players from my Silsden U23 team, roughly 10 lads, now playing first team football at Step 4, 5 and 6 is something I take pride in. It shows I was successful in developing their skills as a player, their tactical knowledge and hopefully them as people too.
What is your best memory of coaching?
I always remember the first session with Fran Aonso with the Uni of Liverpool Men’s team. It was a bit surreal, as a Tottenham fan, I knew of Fran from when he assisted Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton, and suddenly I was working very closely with him. The standards he set were so high and blew me away. I definitely feel that was one of the happiest moments I have had in football coaching.
What are your goals in the sport?
My goals are to go as far as possible, to the highest standard, to get the highest qualifications , to work with the best players. I am very ambitious however I am enjoying every step of the journey. I would love to manage a non-league team myself, and have the pressure of representing the passionate and true local fans of football. It’s something I am currently working towards and when the opportunity arises, I hope my passion for the game, desire to work hard and the knowledge I have learnt and will continue to, can lend to a successful career in the game.
What are the biggest obstacles you have faced in football?
At the moment, I do feel a bit of an obstacle is my age, which in my mind really should not be an obstacle. For players, I say that if they are good enough, they are old enough, and it shouldn't be any different for coaches. I think the perception of young coaches is changing and we are going in the right direction, with more and more non ex-professional coaching in the professional game setting a good example for everyone else to aspire to. For me, I will continue to put the work in, get my name out there, take on opportunities that arrive and learn from as many people as possible.
Who’s had the biggest influence in your coaching career and why?
I would say Fran definitely had the biggest influence on me as a coach. The insight I got into professional football was something I was very fortunate to get, the standards he set, the professionalism he expects, the comradery of the team, the things I base my work on. Luckily, I have also been lucky enough to have been coached by Luke Swindlehurst, former Liverpool Women's coach, who really showed me the importance of building relationships as a coach. In terms of the non-league game, Danny Forrest was a brilliant person to learn from during my time at Silsden. His sessions were impeccable, and of a professional standard which of course he brought over from his playing days. He’s someone who cares about the small details a lot, similar to me, and his standards are very high in every aspect of the game, something pretty rare at this standard, he’s a big influence on me.
What advice would you give to people wishing to get involved in coaching football?
I’m not sure if I'm in a position to give advice just yet, however, if i was to, i would say to be open minded. This is something I was told, and it's a way of making sure you are a sponge to knowledge. Every coach is different and you can learn something from everyone, no matter your views on them as a coach. Another thing is that you have to be proactive, don't be passive. A job won't land on your lap, be active on social media, get your name out there and network. As well as being good enough in the first place, sometimes it's about who you know, not just what you know! It’s okay being a good coach, but if no one knows of you, it's hard to get places.