I Want Your Job: Football coach

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The Independent Online

Kalam Mooniaruck, 23, is an intermediate football coach at the David Beckham Academy in Greenwich, south London.

What do you actually do?

I coach football to children and adults, helping them build up confidence and improve their skills. We run sponsored school visits for local kids, where they take part in educational activities, team building exercises and football tournaments, and we also offer private coaching sessions for children in the evenings and on Saturday mornings. During the school holidays, I coach soccer camps for children from all over the world. We also run training courses for football coaches to become better qualified, and organise various corporate events.

What's a typical day like?

I arrive at 8.30am, and try to learn the register before the kids arrive, so I know all their first names. Once the children get here, I send them on to the pitch for a muscle-stretching warm-up. We'll do some challenges, have a snack break for fruit and a drink, then do some team-building exercises before lunch. In the afternoon, there's often a football tournament with a World Cup theme, with different teams playing as different countries. If I'm not down on the rota for after-school coaching or a corporate event, then I finish at around 4.30pm – but usually there's something else on in the evening, so I'll do some more individual coaching or team training and finish at about 7pm.

What do you love most about your job?

Working in London, you come into contact with children from all sorts of different cultures, speaking a lot of different languages. We work with children with disabilities too, which is very rewarding. The facilities are fantastic, the coaches are great, and everyone who comes here really appreciates what we do, so there's a lovely atmosphere. Teachers say they often see a huge difference in the children after they've been at a coaching session.

Are there any downsides?

There isn't really anything I don't like about coaching. It can be a long day at work, but if you need to swap an evening shift, there are 23 staff on the rota who are very friendly, and usually someone is happy to swap with you.

What skills do you need to be a really great football coach?

You need to be prepared to learn, and to understand how children learn. Some children learn by listening, and others learn physically, by doing. You've got to be patient, willing to work as a team, and keen to learn as much as you can from other coaches. You also have to be prepared to take yourself out of your comfort zone, and to speak confidently in front of large audiences. Communication skills are really important, whether you're projecting your voice with a class of young schoolchildren on the pitch, or explaining rules and techniques to a group of adults.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to become a football coach?

It does help if you're good at football, so you can demonstrate particular skills, but it's more important to be able to explain things clearly. It's definitely worth going on as many training courses as you can to get properly qualified as a coach. The better you get, and the more coaching courses you go on, the more likely you are to be spotted as a talent. You should try to learn as much as you can about football, and keep up-to-date with the big matches on TV, because a lot of children watch all the matches, and they'll probably ask you questions about them.

What's the salary and career path like?

A starting salary for a young coach might be between £15,000 to £18,000 a year, depending on experience. But a lot of people start out coaching part-time at their local community clubs, where they are likely to be paid hourly. You can progress to coach in a football academy, or work for a big professional league or premiership football club.

The Academy is an FA-accredited coaching centre for people wishing to gain their level 1-3 coaching badges.

For more information on training and careers as a football coach, visit www.thefa.com; www.ukcoachingcertificate.org; www.sportscoachuk.org; www.sportengland.org; or www.thedavidbeckhamacademy.co.uk.