Andy’s Blog – Coaching The Norwegian Toon Army
Andy Dobby, one of Newcastle United Foundation’s Football Development recently visited Norway, with three other Foundation coaches, Martin, Tony and Peter, to deliver the charity’s first international Soccer School.
His blog gives an overview of the trip…enjoy!
“Martin, Tony and Peter and I recently travelled to Sandnes, Norway to deliver the Foundation’s first ever International Soccer School. The trip was months in the planning and was organised with the support of a long term contact, Frode Grotteland.
Frode, who for years has brought groups of children and adults across to Newcastle for our Match Day Experience’s and to watch the first team play, is an avid Newcastle United fan and is keen for more people in Norway to have the same affiliation and love of the club as he does. He also introduced us to one of the largest boys clubs in the local district, Havdur FC, who have fantastic facilities, including an indoor 9v9 pitch.
The main purpose of our trip was to deliver a three day ‘Football School’ to local players at the Stangeland Indoor Arena, the home of Havdur FC. Over the three days we coached sixty-three boys and girls aged nine to fourteen.
After the first session on the Friday night, the soccer school ran all day Saturday and Sunday, with a presentation taking place following the ‘Champions League’ competition on the Sunday afternoon.
Players were a mixed group from ten different clubs in the community, something that is unusual as it brought local clubs that usually compete against each other together. There was also one player who travelled 5 hours to attend!
The format of the course was similar to our UK model, with fun and enjoyment underpinning all sessions.
In addition to our ‘Football School’ we also visited some local professional and grassroots clubs to speak to key staff members, observe best practice and to coach their players. Clubs included a trip to Viking Stavanger, FC Bruyne and Sandnes ULF where we were lucky enough to speak to people at the club who shared with us how they support their local community and what opportunities they provide.
We also delivered a ‘Coach Education’ event to some of the local coaches in the district. With over 50 coaches in attendance this clinic was packed! It was an opportunity to share our best practice, educate people about Newcastle United and the role of the Foundation in our local community.
During the trip there was a lot of media interest in our trip. It was amazing to see our sessions in the local press!
We received lots of fantastic feedback from partners, parents and players. It was really pleasing to hear that parents and the club emphasised our coach’s professionalism, passion and enthusiasm as being the main quality that sets us apart from other clubs and coaching providers. This was particularly pleasing to hear for me, as one part of my role at the Foundation is to be responsible for the quality of our coaching. These are qualities we want all our coaches to aspire to, whether coaching at home or abroad.
All in all, this was a fantastic experience for the Foundation and us as coaches. The opportunity to coach abroad, experience a different culture and visit other clubs is invaluable and can only aid coach development.
Newcastle United is the closest English club to Sandnes and neighbour city Stavanger, so we are loving the opportunity to help establish a Norwegian ‘Toon Army’!
We are already planning our return and hope to open this opportunity up to more of our coaches in the future.”