FITC amongst mentors at Kick It Out event
Kick It Out’s Raise Your Game series concluded in Devon as the University of Exeter played host to a dedicated day of mentoring and coaching.
The mentors, who were assembled to help guide local groups and individuals wanting to pursue employment in football, came via community and professional sectors, in a day ran in conjunction with Devon County FA and Exeter City Community Trust.
Mark Tyler, a seasoned journalist for ITV, joined Dan James, Police Community Support Officer and goalkeeper for the England blind team, Suaad George, manager of Open Space International FC, an Exeter-based team of migrant footballers, Lee Rider, County Development Manager for Devon FA, Jamie Vittles, Head of Community at Exeter City FC and Jason Haywood, Referee Development Officer, and Respect Officer for Devon County FA.
A coaching masterclass served up by former Swindon and Huddersfield Town’s Iffy Onuora, now applying a lifetime of football experience to his role at the PFA, provided a fitting culmination to the events, which have offered crucial football-based guidance and qualifications to people all over England.
Martin Weiler, from the Exeter City Supporters Trust’s One Game, One Community group, a long-standing advocate of relaying the Kick It Out message in the South West, said: “This is a really fantastic initiative. It’s been great to see the buzz in the room as everyone received individual support and guidance on how to further their aspirations in working in football.”
Iffy Onuora helped wrap the day up by sharing some of his own personal experiences from the dugout and on the field of play with the group, and insisted on aspiring coaches applying the ‘human touch’ where possible: “Coaching and management is about people skills as much as anything else. You’re balancing different expectations for different groups of people, from the fans, the board, to your own family. At times, this can be tricky. But basic personal skills can make things so much easier.”
Kick It Out now looks forward to the national Raise Your Game conference on April 10th in London, which will provide the pinnacle of the project.