Q1) How did you get into football?
My friends and I would play football at any given opportunity from primary school age. They had asked me to join a local team which they were part of and so my brother and I both went along to training sessions at GAD Khalsa Sports Club. I played and learned the game from there on with lots of support from the coaches. I currently try to involve myself in all aspects of football, from playing to coaching and refereeing.
Q2) When did you start coaching?
As soon as I turned 14 the club secretary asked our u16s age group to consider doing a sports leader course. A few of us from our team were encouraged to do it and it gave me an idea of what basic football coaching was all about. This led on to other junior leader courses and then into refereeing. The U16s team ended the season and folded but, I wanted to stay involved with the club somehow. I was offered a team to coach and I started as the manager of an u9s team from the off. I have experienced 4 seasons as a manager/coach and I have had a lot of help from assistants and from other club staff.
Q3) What coaching courses have you completed?
I have most recently completed a FA Level 2 coaching football course which was led by Rafaelle Long and Neil Cluxton. Prior to this I completed the Level 1. I intend to apply for the UEFA B (Level 3) course as soon as possible when I gain further coaching experience.
Q4) Have your coaching qualifications helped outside of football?
Yes massively, I am completing a degree in Performance Analysis and Coaching Science (BSc Hons) at The University of Derby and without coaching I don't think I would have started a career or further education in sport. We have had a module on coaching in the first year of the degree and I have passed with ease as I already had more experience than the majority. Coaching has boosted my confidence and self-esteem as I feel comfortable presenting information to large groups of people, whether players or parents. This has also helped with my presentation and communication skills academically. On completing the coaching courses I have networked with other coaches and tutors who I can have discussions with. The qualifications also demonstrates to potential employers that I participate in football outside of education and this gives myself an advantage when I have interviews or for when I choose to go into full-time work.
Q5) What are your coaching aspirations?
I want to get as far into the coaching football pathway as possible; whether it is at grassroots, semi-professional or professional level. I want to help others as much as possible and to inspire the next generation of coaches as there are not many young Asian coaches like myself. I am on the DCFA Young Leader Management Team which gives me another coaching perspective with a wider community reach. I would like to have my own academy or start something different for the future generations.
Q6) The best thing about coaching is...
That it gives opportunities by helping learners as much as possible. It gives players training sessions and match-day experiences to look forward to each week. As a child I always looked forward to Thursday training at GAD Khalsa. Tournaments always bring a fun yet competitive side to coaching. I can also help other coaches with my knowledge and help people get more involved in football coaching or playing the game.
Q7) Who are your role models within football?
Pep Guardiola, Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard. Guardiola in particular because of how hard his style of play is and how it is implemented into a team. I really like his professional qualities. Messi and Hazard impress me for their leadership qualities and professionalism in and outside of football. Their technical ability that they bring to a team and when on the pitch is amazing.
Q8) Any advice for anyone wanting to get into coaching?
Find a local team and enquire if there is a group available to coach. Start as an assistant coach of a young team and shadow another experienced coach. Try to learn and pick up as many skills and qualities as possible from experienced staff. Study the game as much as possible, meaning watch every match and pick out key points that you can add into your own philosophy. You must be confident in yourself and understand that there will be many ups and downs in coaching a football team.