As a BA (Hons) Football Coaching & Management student, Ethan Vidal aspires to work in an academy set-up upon graduation and within a first team environment. Here, Ethan tells us about why he chose the coaching pathway, how his degree programme is helping him and about his inclusion on the prestigious Football Black List…

Why do you want to follow the coaching pathway?

I first familiarised myself with the football coaching pathway when I was 15 after I had started volunteering at my local club, just behind my home in East London. I decided to follow it because I took an interest in wanting to develop people, players and myself which would in turn help me to grow as a coach and as a person. A little while after I had begun my coaching journey, I did some introspection and came to realise that I want to be able to bring out the best in individual players and to be able to create and manage highly cohesive groups and high performing teams.        

What’s your inspiration for doing this?

My inspiration for following the pathway was the challenge of it, the few examples we have of coaches who have not made a career playing, and wanting to become someone who could teach and develop people and players at any age. I knew when I started that I was going to have to go above and beyond my peers, and more, and I’m only looking to continue to build on the experience I’ve gained thus far.

Your hard work is clearly paying off following your recognition as ‘one to watch’ on the Football Black List… 

This is an organisation which celebrates and highlights role models from the black community who are working in football all over the UK. I felt very humbled to know that my activities and achievements have been recognised within our community and I hope it will continue to highlight those doing good work in football.

Do you consider yourself a role model for younger BAME coaches?

I am still young myself, and I’m not sure that any upcoming coaches have heard of me or are looking in my direction, but I definitely want to be a role model and not just for the coaching industry. I thrive on having conversations with likeminded coaches, younger people and adults alike who have a serious interest in the game and people who want to try and become the best of themselves.

How has your degree programme helped you work towards your career goals?

The degree has helped me with its practical nature. I am very thankful that myself and my classmates are able to get on the pitch at Belle Vue and test ourselves and learn on the go from tutors who are knowledgeable, work in clubs and some of whom are or have been FA course tutors.

What are your plans for the future?

When I finish my degree and UEFA B licence, I am hoping to enter a role within an academy system and continue to work with adults within a first team environment.