Interview with Coach "Roger Leggett"

1. Where did Football begin for you?

- A long time ago now, In England, first real memory, about 45 years ago, was playing for my school in Bury St Edmunds no shin guards needed, outside pitch the goals had no crossbars or nets, which often caused some confusion whether a goal had been scored or not. I also played indoor 5-a-side. I then moved to South London in 1979 and started playing in the Sutton Little League as well as playing for the school.

What's teams did you play for?

- This is testing the memory - but here goes, from 1979:

School Teams (Muschamp Junior School Up to u11 and for Sutton Manor Grammar School up to u18) - Sutton Little League - Clarke’s Doughboys (sponsored by a Bakers) then ‘transferred’ to Daniels Lions (sponsored by Car Sales Company - we played in Amber kits - hence the Lions), still have the trophies and awards that I won in a box somewhere.

From 12 years old to about U18 played in the Epsom & Ewell District and Leatherhead & District Leagues on Sunday mornings Auriol FC, Carshalton Park Rangers, amongst the few teams. Brings back memories of getting a lift to matches with my school friend, Ian Buckland and his Dad, who drove a 3 Wheeler ‘Del Boy’ Van. They introduced me to Stamford Bridge in 1979.

Also from 15/16 years old I also sometimes played on Saturday afternoons for the Old Suttonians (Old Boys School Team).

So some weekends I played Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon and Sunday mornings, and most of my spare time was spent at the park playing football with whoever was there, and enjoyed every minute of it.

After leaving school at 18 y o and starting work - Football was purely a social occasion playing the odd game for the Old Suttonians on Saturdays and then more regularly I played for Oriel FC (I think that’s right) in the Leatherhead and District League Sunday League.
I also was played indoor 5-a-side one evening a week in league based in Roehampton - but stopped at about 24 y o after an injury which meant I couldn’t play for 2 years.

Went back to 11-a-side - but decided to stop playing at around 28 y o (1997) as had continual problems with my knees.

So then I got a season ticket for Chelsea and did my football mainly from the Stands.
Moved to Ireland in 1999 and still haven’t got the knees sorted out.

2. You have been coaching now for 11 years, how did you get into coaching?

- Yes, started Coaching in 2009 with Eddie Fitzsimmons with the Born 1998 just before they started 11 a-side and then I offered to help Mike Noone with the Born 2000’s - Morgan was playing with them and as I was at the clubhouse on most Saturday mornings watching I thought why not help out and it went from there.

3. You currently hold UEFA B, Elite Grassroots and Goalkeeping National D Licences, what is next for you in terms of coach education? Do you plan to go further?

- I was awarded the UEFA B diploma and licence in 2016 and am extremely happy to have attained this level of qualification. As I feel it satisfies the needs for coaching at our club level of football I didn’t see the need to go onto the UEFA A, so I looked at other courses under the FAI Coaching Pathway and this included a new course 'Elite Grassroots Coach’ which I completed in 2018. So I then decided to gain some coaching knowledge with Goalkeeping so attended the Fundamental course in June 2019 and then did the National D last month. If there is a course held nearby for the Goalkeeping National C - I will try to attend that and look at doing the Futsal Courses. I will attend the National Coaching Seminar which is held at Carlow IT, in November and will review any new workshops the FAI may introduce.

3. You have coached many different teams at the Club, can you summarise the roles you have had?

- Taken from my football CV:
May 2009 to June 2010 : Coaching Boys U9’s & U11’s,
July 2010 to June 2011 : Coaching Boys U10’s & U12’s
July 2011 to June 2012 : Coaching Boys U12’s, U13’s & Girls U14’s
July 2012 to June 2013 : Coaching Boys U13’s, Girls U14’s & Senior B Team
July 2013 to June 2014 : Coaching Boys U8’s, Girls U16’s & Senior B Team
July 2014 to June 2016 : Coaching Boys U9’s, U12’s, Girls U16’s & Senior B Team
July 2016 to June 2017 : Coaching Boys U17/18
July 2017 to June 2018 : ***Somewhere Else***
August 2018 to June 2019 : Coaching Boys U15 & U16 A’s
July 2019 to March 2020 : Coaching Boys U16A&B then a break and Boys U16B and Senior Ladies ( trying…! ): U10 and below Goalkeeping sessions.

4. Girl's football is relatively new to Athenry FC, What was your part in bringing this to the Club?

- My part was being 'married to Michelle’. With 2 children playing and when I started coaching, she decided to cheekily answer Gerry McGoughs' call 'for fathers to volunteer to help out’. And it took off from there. We attended the Kick Start 1 & 2 courses together and I would give her any advice I could – whether she wanted it or not..!

6. Having managed the B team for a few seasons, what are the differences between coaching men and juveniles? What challenges did you face? What did you learn as a coach from this experience?

- There seems to be common characteristics and traits with players at every age group including the Seniors. However, with the older players there is a bit of truth in the old saying ‘you can’t teach old dogs new tricks’. As you know, there was many a discussion (too many) of 4-3-3 v 4-4-2. The unpredictable numbers coming to training was the same - so you always had to be ready to go to adapt or change the session accordingly. With youth development players you have to give all players time on the pitch but with Senior players the aim is to win matches and trying to achieve a balance for those players who always train over the ‘best starting 11 players’ on match days is a big challenge especially when numbers who turn up for matches is far in excess of those at training. I think that at every age group it is very difficult for 1 person to do the Role of Coach and Manager - and it is more suited to have 2 people - 1 in each role. I prefer the role as the Coach.

7. You had been involved with the Galway FA U12 team last season, do you see yourself getting more involved with GFA teams in the future? Or what is next for Roger Leggett?

- Yes, I was involved with them last season. I hadn’t planned to do it but Mark Lawless had discussed it with me so I offered to help - as a Coach. It was a great experience working with some great players from clubs all around Galway and it’ll be interesting to listen out for their progress in the game.

Due to the current situation I have no immediate plans for anything just yet. But I’m more than happy to assist anyone at any level, if I’m asked, and to coach those who want to learn.

8. Finally, what would you say should be the main attributes to being a good coach? Have you got any advice for young coaches or players thinking of getting into coaching?

- Set High Standards. For yourself and the players.

Knowledge. Learn about all aspects of ‘the game’, coaching and learning methods.

Set good example to players.

Preparation. Plan what you are doing - annual, monthly, weekly. Have a plan b, c or d ready. Arrive early – Leave late.

Good Communication with Players and Parents.

Be enthusiastic. Create a positive and fun learning environment.

Make the sessions Football specific. Does it relate to the game? Use a ball as much as possible.

Be Flexible. If its not working change it.

Have I got any Advice ? ……... Yes, plenty.

Thank you,
@athenry_afc / #athenry_afc