Billy’s Summer as a Soccer Coach
Billy Kavanagh spent the summer of his life as a Soccer Coach in the USA. Here is what made his summer so memorable
A headline which grabs your attention and gets you instantly excited. Those were my thoughts as myself and a couple of friends debated signing up for this dream opportunity.
We were immediately relaxed upon our arrival at the event, the atmosphere surrounding all in attendance was good, with everyone on the same wavelength with an attitude of helping each other to get the dream contract. Instructed on the exact details of what would be required to achieve this, we all set about following instructions, keeping drills as simple as possible and showcasing our ability to coach.
Having all completed the assessment, we were taken out one by one all nervously awaiting our fate.
Thankfully all from our group passed and we were all set for the drive home thoughts drifting away to warmer climates and days spent being paid to play/teach football!
Since no prior coaching experience is needed to be chosen for this programme, it was necessary to bring all individuals up to the required high standard needed to coach on behalf of Challenger Sport in the U.S. This was achieved through a coaching training day in Dublin followed by a weekend training in Warwick University in England. Both were fantastic opportunities to develop further as a coach whilst also getting to know some of the fellow coaches who would play a huge role in a fantastic summer.
Coaching in the U.S. is a new experience compared to previous experiences here in Ireland. For many kids’ football is one of many sports, and often the one which they possess the least knowledge and experience.
The children you are coaching listen to every word, follow what you do step by step, look to you for guidance and are over the moon when they receive your approval. Coaching these kids for a week can often result in their ability coming on leaps and bounds. They view their coach with great respect and as you are often one of the few people, they have met with ability in a game so new, you are often asked: “Are you a professional?”.
Being in the U.S. can be an unbelievable experience. It’s often a whole new culture which is more different than it seems from the outside. Being based in Chicago and spending a lot of time in Indiana and Wisconsin, I visited a lot of areas I never would’ve thought to go.
However, having been in this country as a tourist and coaching as part of this programme, I learned the most about American life from the latter experience.
Staying with families allows you to fully immerse yourself in what is involved in day-to-day American life. You are out of the bubble and comfort zone of being a tourist, you get to see what the real American experience is.
I met some unbelievable people, many of which I am still in contact with today, they take you in as one of their own for a week and view you in the same way after you leave. They bring you to events, show you what their local area has to offer and do everything in their power to make you feel at home.
One of the rarer and most positive experiences an outsider can get of the American Dream.
See The Sights
Having worked all summer and seen a large portion of the country without having to spend a large amount of money, we decided to see as much as possible in our 30 days travel post-coaching. This included a trip to San Francisco, on to Vegas via Yosemite before taking in the east coast sights of New York and Boston. These were all unforgettable experiences in which we seen the major areas we set out to when starting off on the journey. This added to the many destinations visited on camp allowed for the full American experience and one which I will never forget.
Ready to start your own adventure as a Soccer Coach in the USA? Get started here.