This Q+A comes from the excellent Stevie Grieve, popular for his current coaching game model creations and his experiences in Switzerland, India, Canada, Scotland and now as Head of Performance and Recruitment at Forest Green Rovers.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Current: Head of Performance and Recruitment, Forest Green Rovers, League One, England
Previously I spent:
1 season as Head of Recruitment at St. Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership 2021-2022
2 season as Head of Analysis at Dundee United in the Scottish Championship, we won the league then were promoted in 2019-2020/2020-2021
3 years as Director of Coaching at Burlington Soccer Club, Ontario, Canada
3 years as Technical Director of Bhaichung Bhutia Soccer Schools, India
Head coach Garhwal FC 2013 I-League 2, India
Head coach FC Gland 2012, Switzerland
Dundee u17 Assistant Coach, Scotland
What is it about your role that you love?
I love what the club stands for in terms of sustainability and how we all can have a positive impact on the world around us by the choices we make. I think everyone knows we are vegan and carbon-neutral so the identity of the club is already strongly established and people know what to expect when they come here. We don’t force what the club believe in onto people, they can make their own choices – but we provide everything in-house as vegan, sustainable and to help provide a better world for our kids and grandkids into the future.
Right now I am 3 weeks into the job and still finding my feet but I have enjoyed the freedom to come in and review what we are doing, make recommendations, suggest changes and find additions to improve various processes. We have hired a FT Data Scientist which will help us gain more insight into performance within the club but externally too which can provide us with support across Coaching, Analysis, Scouting and Recruitment.
Over time I would expect to see us score more goals and win more games so we need to have a strong January window to help the club. I love being able to find players who can immediately help us achieve our goals but combine that with finding undervalued players that other teams have discarded or not used effectively.
What have you found different from coaching/working in the UK? Are there any challenges that you currently face or have previously faced from coaching/working abroad?
When you go abroad, you can remove any societal barriers or pre-conceptions about how things will be viewed or received, people abroad in some senses can be more open minded but that isn’t to say people in Britain are close minded – there is experience of what works, has worked or why things didn’t work – so we need to take into account the experience and feeling for what choices we make and decide.
Many people who stay in Britain have pathways blocked by the way the game is, so you need to know when to move on or where to go next to find your own route to where you want to get to. I made some hard choices – leave behind a lucrative TV career in Asia to go to Canada, leave an amazing country to go and work as a head of analysis then leave a comfortable job with Dundee United where I had some influence to take head of recruitment at St. Johnstone.
The choice you make to go abroad can often be one where it shapes your perspective on life and appreciate your timeline in any workplace so I’d suggest going abroad if the opportunity arises, and if it hasn’t go look for that opportunity but know how long your timeframe is to move onto your next step up in responsibility or level of play.
Are there any countries that you would love to coach/work in? If so, why?
I always wanted to work in Italy, Brazil and Japan. I’ve been fortunate to experience so many great places so maybe that will happen again, likely on continental Europe or MLS in the future.
Do you have a preferred style to coaching?
Im an evidence based, guided learning coach. I’ll grab you and put you where you need to be and adjust your body shape etc but thats to make sure you know what is required exactly with regards to the 5 reference points. I look for what has happened in the game through analysis, research and evidence, then turn that into evidence based practices to maximise the decision making, automatisms and efficiency in performance.
I am big on team and inter-player communication so the messages, principles and ideas are consistent irrespective of shape, just how we reach the goal of dominating the game in our own way may shift depending on the player types I have available.
What is your next step? What is your long term aim?
Right now im fully focused on recruitment for both this January window and making sure we have enough in the building to take is to the next step after we stay up at the end of the season. We have had a difficult start, lots of injuries and lots of players who are on their first exposure to first team football and league one, so we will see improvements over the season.
Long term – find my way into a Director of Football role for a club who are regularly in the latter stages of European Competition.
Any tips for other coaches/analysts/football roles out there in regards to working in football? What about tips for working abroad?
Trust yourself and always be willing to adapt your methods, don’t only learn about training sessions, too many people back themselves into the corner of only being able to coach and know nothing of the other parts of the game which can take you much further or in different directions than you thought previously.
Cast your net wide and learn and experience new cultures learn a language, be open to different methods and diversify your skillset, you become a better person for it.
24/11/22 – NEW BLOG POST!
This Coach Q+A comes from Cristian Burguillo Santiago, a UEFA Pro Licence coach in Spain who tells us about his background and current projects. Enjoy!
Can you please tell us a little more about yourself?
I am Cristian Burguillo, I am a Spanish soccer coach at Uefa Pro level and also with a methodological director title, and a scout title, I currently coach a team in Spain, Marina de Cudeyo, and I also work as a Methodological Director helping clubs and coaches with the training methodology that the club would like me to help them with.
Is there a favorite aspect of soccer for you?
I feel comfortable both as a coach and as a scout since it is what I am used to, if I had to choose I would like to train and compete with another team, the day to day with the players, achieving objectives with them, etc., is what what I like the most I like it,
What is a typical day-to-day like for you in your current position?
During the week, I prepare the training sessions by focusing on the game at the weekend and doing exercises and situations in which we can improve and strengthen the points in which we are good, also focusing on the opponent that we are going to meet and preparing them with our bodies. technical.
During the weekend, the day that we don’t have a game, I’m going to see rivals from my league to analyse them and to be able to better prepare the training sessions for the coming weeks.
How does your project work and what is the long-term goal?
When I arrived at the club two years ago, I took a team that was not having very good results and that had come from some pretty bad years and the first season we managed to move up in leagues. Last year, which was the second season, being a recently promoted team and with the permanence as a goal, we are one game away from being promoted again. This year is my third season, and the goal is to get back up there fighting, establishing the team in the category, and if we can go up it would be great, but we have to go slowly and progressively.
What is your long-term goal?
My personal goal is to grow year after year, meet goals and objectives, grow as a coach and keep learning, since I started coaching nine years ago at the age of 21 – every season that has passed and I have always met the goals set by the clubs. – My own status and personal objectives – I do not put barriers.
Is there a country or project in which you would like to participate in football?
In the future I would like to work in soccer outside of Spain, I have been learning and improving my English for some time to be prepared when the opportunity arises, but a country in which I would like to work is the USA. I see working in football as interesting in the future. Although I am a person who likes to travel and get to know new cultures and countries, I don’t care about the destination as long as the project is attractive, and I feel valued.
Being a PRO licensed trainer yourself, what advice would you give to other trainers around the world who may be reading this?
The coaches are dedicated to training because we like it and it is also something vocational, my advice is to train with passion and desire, there are better and worse days but they have to go to training with the idea of making their players grow, helping them to be better every day, and that tomorrow the players remember the coach with affection and as a person who helped them to be better, that is the best reward for a coach who is better than any sporting achievement