We met Matthew Hodgson, an Englishman currently coaching in the States.
Matt tells us a little about himself, his coaching journey and his top tips for coaches and their foreign aspirations!
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in Torquay, Devon. I was a very average player and played locally as a kid and at the local college as I got older.
I started coaching at 16 with Torquay United Football in the Community and with my old primary school before completing a BTEC in Sports Science.
I then took a gap year and coached and played locally while following Torquay United around the country!
After this, I went off to study Football Studies at Solent University and played a little bit there but got injured and stopped playing altogether for a while. In my final year of university, I interviewed for a summer camp program in the USA and took it, where I coached for 3 months in the US and then went home and started working in local schools as a PPE teacher before finally heading back to the states and working across the country as a travel/competitive coach in Michigan, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Chicago again, Kansas City, Chicago again!!! And now I am on the outskirts of Seattle.
My current role is Player Development Director at a Club called Harbor Premier Soccer Club. I love being able to help develop both players and coaches in the role and enjoy the curriculum development for the club as well as coaching my own teams.
I also work in the Elite Development Program for the state of Washington after have 5 years as a Head Coach in the Olympic Development program in Illinois and working with USYS Region 2 Olympic Development.
What have you found different from coaching in the UK?
The main differences I found between the UK and US to begin with was the emotional engagement with the game, the culture of independent play and just the all-round love of the game.
Many parents and players here think that every moment of every game or activity has to be coached with little to no freedom of expression with the ball. Many players here do not play on their own, only at practice.
Are there any countries that you would love to coach in? If so, why?
A dream of mine is to coach on every continent! The travel, the language barrier and the meeting of new people really appeals to me. If I had to pick one country, it would be Brazil. To coach in an environment that captures so much flair, passion and creative expression would be a phenomenal challenge and experience
Do you have a preferred style to coaching?
With my 11 aside groups I enjoy coaching defending in a low block and playing counter attacking football with finding the longest connectable pass where possible.
With my younger groups I like to teach every aspect of the game and have a heavy technical base to the groups so that when the players move on to other coaches, they can build upon the work the players have done, whilst also being able to teach the tactical components of the game.
What is your next step? What is your long-term aim?
Next step… I’ll be applying for my A license next year. I have been starting to think about testing myself in either an academy setting or at the US college level as I am really wanting to develop my overall tactical side of the game with older and higher level players.
Any tips for other coaches out there in regards to coaching? What about tips for coaching abroad?
Enjoy going through and completing your licensing but remember to be on the field as much as possible. Coach all ages, abilities and genders – when I first came to the ‘states’ I was adamant I didn’t want to coach girls and now it’s probably my best attribute!
You can learn from ANY coach, not just ones you perceive to be better than you. Some of my biggest light bulb moments have been watching younger or newer coaches and learning new phrases or actions – both positive and negative.
Coaching is about more than just the X’s and O’s for me. If you can learn to understand people, then the football part becomes easier.
Thanks for this Matthew!
Keep checking the blog, and thanks! Lloyd
@tufchodgy – Matthew Hodgson
@lloydowers – Lloyd Owers