FOOTBALL: HE MAY have just earned one of the most respected coaching badges in football and can now coach as high as the Premier League, but Dan Elliot will continue doing what he does best by coaching and guiding the next generation of stars and coaches at the Strachan Football Foundation (SFF).
A gruelling 13-day course at St. George’s Park – the FA’s headquarters – recently came to an end for Rugby resident Dan and he was greeted with the news that he had been one of very few people to pass his UEFA A Licence.
“I set myself a target of completing by December 2016 which was 18 months from starting the course,” Dan told the observer. “UEFA and the FA give you up to five years to complete the qualification and on average it takes two years – to complete six months ahead of schedule is something I am very proud of.”
The course his led by a host of top coaches from across the footballing world and aims at prepare coaches for who work or wish to progress into the professional/semi-professional ranks and covers many aspects of high level coach.
Getting past the application process is a victory in itself, with over 800 coaches from across the country applying for the course every year, but only 90 are selected, with most being former players.
Once selected, you are required to complete no fewer than 40 coaching sessions, with eight being recorded and assessed by FA tutors Andy Poole and Craig Hinton.
“It is a rigorous application process. The application I put together was a strong one and was very proud to have been accepted.
“Some of the areas I was assessed on were my understanding of long term player development and working with individuals. I also had to explain my ethos / playing style, with units on sports psychology and fitness training.
“The final assessment can only be described as a driving test where you have a certain criteria to meet from the introduction of the session, the delivery and evaluation of the session.
“It is a pretty intense experience but a pressure that I enjoyed, to be judged on the same standards that coaches within the premier league and international football have been judged on is a real challenge.
“It was hard but very enjoyable at the same time. You are there with like-minded people so after the sessions you are talking about football and everyone shares the same enthusiasm.
“I was very proud to pass first time as the former Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo failed his first assessment after winning the champions league with Chelsea in 2012.”
The qualification allows Dan to coach as high as the Premier League and is the perfect pathway for him to perhaps enter the professional ranks.
But his heart lies at the Strachan Football Foundation where he is a founder and managing director. He is responsible for all curriculum develop and the identification of new qualifications and projects delivered by the foundation based in Rugby.
“I love my job,” added Dan, who has over 15 years’ experience as a grassroots and elite academy coach. “It’s not about the money in my career.
“We’ve helped 250 lads go into full-time placements. We’ve seen six lads go to school in America and we’ve got another four going this year. We’ve helped players break into professional ranks.
“I’m still young in terms of coaching and maybe I might end up at an academy for a professional club one day, but my next steps are to complete the FA Youth Module 3 and then go onto the FA Advanced Youth Award alongside my work with SFF.”