The ultimate guide for graduates on choosing your ideal career in football and sports coaching.

Being a coach doesn’t just involve kicking a ball around or throwing it. How is an athlete identified as being a future star? How is a player and a team’s performance analysed effectively? A coach, or educator, will be a good listener, communicator and be the complete team player. There is a world of opportunity and career options for aspiring coaches the world over. With the likes of the United States and China always keen to recruit more football (or soccer) coaches, the time has never been better to think of a career in coaching…

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Youth coach

Youth coaches at the grassroots level are the torchbearers for each sport they represent. Not only do they teach youngsters the basics of their chosen sport, but their enthusiasm, knowledge and patience with the child also has the potential to turn them on to the sport for the rest of their life – whether as a competitor, spectator or coach themselves. A youth coach will gain the necessary badges and qualifications to teach their sport e.g. FA badges for football coaches, enabling their players to enjoy fun, educational and practical lessons.

Academy coach

From grassroots to the professional level, coaches are the most vital cog in an athlete’s development. Every level has different responsibilities which require different skill sets. A number of industry qualifications, such as The FA and UEFA badges in football, can be undertaken alongside UCFB’s degree programmes to increase employability. An academy coach is one of the first people a young player will come into contact with when they join a professional club, and will be responsible for their expected development. He or she is vital to the first team management structure in advising which players are ready to train or play with the first team.

Performance analyst

A performance analyst lives, sleeps and breathes football. They’ll break down the play from every match their own club plays, as well as that of the opposition weeks in advance. They’ll then make copies for all coaching staff and players to analyse as they prepare for the next big game. A team of performance analysts work around the clock to ensure the coaching staff have all the tools possible at their disposable to prepare their team. Like scouts, they’ll use programmes such as Scout7 and STATS (formerly ProZone), plus data compiled by the likes of Opta, to help log the performance and fitness levels of the athletes.

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UCFB Wembley students completing their FA Level 1 Coaching qualifications


The role of a football scout consists of thousands of motorway miles, one-too-many service station sandwiches and an undying love for the game. A scout will see thousands of players of all ages and levels over a season, and very few of their recommendations will come off. But it’s scouts who unearth the talent of tomorrow. As a scout, you’ll have a natural eye for talent in any position, not to mention an incredible thirst for football at all levels. And now in the 21st century, stats, numbers, and software play a huge part in scouting a new player. Programmes such as Scout7 and STATS (formerly ProZone), plus data compiled by the likes of Opta help to unearth the next line of talent.

Performance director

The performance director will have an army of scouts working for them at home and overseas, all the while overseeing their current first team squad and identifying what it needs to improve. At the same time, they’ll have an eye on “the next Ronaldo” – that can be the difference between a top ten finish and relegation. They’ll have contacts around the world at an abundance of academies and Sunday league clubs, as well as a network of scouts keeping you abreast of what other clubs are looking at your targets. Dan Ashworth, technical director at The Football Association, was previously academy director at West Bromwich Albion and it was his work there that attracted the attention of The FA. He, along with Gareth Southgate, have been responsible in creating the ‘England DNA’.