Football: A broken industry? – Insight from Luke Chadwick

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Now I love football, always have and I’m quite sure always will but there are areas of the game that I look at with despair and feel it’s not good enough. One such aspect is the football coaching industry and the prospects of hugely talented and passionate football coaches.

It’s an industry where demand vastly outweighs opportunity and so many don’t have the chance to follow their dream and do something they love, and even for those that do, the reality of working full time in football is often not what they were expecting it to be. I was one of those coaches, the perceived ‘lucky ones’ but it certainly didn’t work out as I thought it would.

I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to become a fully qualified coach, going through my coaching qualifications with the support of the PFA, fast fast-tracking through the system to be able to work at a professional club. It’s something that many find very difficult, accessing the courses and also paying a large sum of money to complete when they do become available.

Don’t get me wrong, the courses were great and I learnt a huge amount going through this process. But the reality of working full time within an Academy was unstainable for me and with the vast turnover in staff I’m guessing it was the same for many more.

The reason for this I believe is twofold, firstly the workload and hours involved made the job very challenging. Long hours in the office before training sessions in the evening drained me from the part that should have been the best bit which of course is being out on the pitch putting the sessions on. You find yourself rarely at home and very limited time to spend with those you love the most.

The other part, which may sound a little shallow, was the financial reward for the work that goes in, which in my case grew a sense of frustration and with the combination of the long hours I made my mind up that it wasn’t for me. As I said before it wasn’t sustainable and I witnessed the same with so many others who came into roles young and enthusiastic but when their lives changed with relationships and starting families they began looking for different career paths.

In my opinion, coaching isn’t treated fairly in terms of what the rewards are for talented coaches and because there are so many passionate people out there waiting for full-time coaching roles when they come up clubs know it won’t be a challenge replacing those when they decide to move on. Which sees so many talented people leave the industry altogether. But that’s the minority and there are so many more who will never even get the opportunity to experience it.

A massive driver of the Football Fun Factory is to try and change this and give passionate football coaches the opportunity to work full-time in the game doing something they love and earning a fantastic living doing so. Now don’t get me wrong it’s still hard work but it’s done on the coach’s own terms and they are reaping the benefits of it.

The coaching industry is a little broken at this time and until it’s recognised as a serious profession the game will continue to lose fantastic people who deserve so much more for the incredible work they do.

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