By academy head coach Phil Philippou

This month I was very fortunate to be able to complete some continued professional development at football clubs in England.

I started off my week going to a conference in Leicester on ‘Teaching & Learning in Football’ with keynote speaker Steve Sallis. It was a fantastic learning opportunity being in the presence of Steve, who as an ex-professional player and has also taught in schools for 19 years as well as having coached at Millwall Academy and with England U15s. He also featured in the popular Netflix series ‘Sunderland ‘Till I Die’ as a sports psychologist.

Phil with Steve Sallis

Phil with Steve Sallis

Steve in action during the Netflix documentary talking to former Sunderland player Jonny Williams

Steve in action during the Netflix documentary talking to former Sunderland player Jonny Williams

The following day I had a fantastic opportunity to watch Premier League football club Watford train. The manage Javi Gracia is a former teammate of our Spanish soccer academy coach David De la Hera. Despite losing to Arsenal 1-0 two days prior in the Premier League, the intensity was still extremely high as the club, at the time, sat in 7th in the table. They also have the small matter of an FA Cup final against Manchester City to look forward to!

Phil with Watford manager Javi Gracia

Phil with Watford manager Javi Gracia

Just as our expectations for our players are always on continued learning and development, it is also important for us coaches to continue our development in order to push ourselves and the players onto the next level.

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary" – Vince Lombardi

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