UK Elite Soccer employ some of the most qualified and passionate soccer coaches from around the globe. Most of our fantastic work force return to their native countries over the winter months to gain more experience and prepare for their next UK Elite season. Phil Phillipou from London, England, has been with UK Elite Soccer for three years now and is excited to be coming back out in March. UK Elite Extra Time caught up with Phil to see how he has been spending his time back in ‘old blighty’.
UK Elite – What have you been doing since you returned to England in November?
Phil – Fundamentally I work for the London Borough of Merton’s Sports Partnership mentoring a new coach on how to deliver PE lessons in one of their Primary Schools. Additionally, I am the head coach of the Merton Borough football team as we pick the most talented 10/11 year olds from all the Merton schools and we play the other Borough’s located in Surrey, we have an outstanding crop of players this year and we have recently won our 1st ever Surrey Cup tournament. We now go on to play Fulham FC in a friendly as they look to add to their 2 Merton Borough players for their academy.
Moreover, I was lucky enough to return to my job of being in charge of the match day mascots at Crystal Palace FC.
UK Elite – How did you get involved with Crystal Palace?
Phil – Being a lifelong Crystal Palace fan, I first entered their Foundation as an 8 year old until the age of 12. I then proceeded to get my FA Level 1 through my football club at the age of 17, I needed more coaching experience so I visited the Foundation and my old coach Clarry Birch was still there and he gave me my chance. I spent 6 years with the Foundation, during that time I went to University and I also got a part-time role with the the Academy. This helped me extend my network and one of my superiors put me up for the vacant role of match day mascot supervisor.
UK Elite – Talk about your work with Crystal Palace on game days?
Phil – I arrive 2 hours before kick off, my first point of call is to welcome the match day mascots as we wait for the players and staff to arrive. When all the players are present we go into the changing rooms and the mascots get plenty of autographs and photos with the players. We then go on to knock on Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew’s door. He invites the mascots in for a chat and some soft drinks, the manager then concludes with more autographs and photos.
I then go and collect the away mascot. The away team arrive a bit later and we take the mascot and parent to the away changing room to get all their autographs and pictures.
An hour before kick off signals our time to go onto the field. We visit the dugouts and then train alongside the players for 40 minutes. While the players leave we exit the field with a lap of honour which is warmly applauded by the fans.
We end with every mascots favourite, we take them into the tunnel and wait for the players and officials to join. The mascots choose their favourite player and walk out with them to the roar of the Selhurst Park crowd.
UK Elite – How has your time with UK Elite helped you with work in England?
Phil – The coaching education you receive at UK Elite has improved me as a coach monumentally, you are constantly surrounded by senior coaches such as Tim Bradbury, Steve Jones and Gary Book. A combination of having this wealth of experience and the resources of being able to complete your NSCAA Diplomas and USSF Licences means you are regularly challenging and enhancing yourself as a coach. This has given me knowledge that other coaches in the UK may not have had the opportunity to have.
UK Elite – What are you looking forward to most about returning to UK Elite Soccer?
Phil – I am looking forward to having a routine of coaching teams and seeing their progression from week 1 to the final week.
I have been lucky enough to have the same team for 3 seasons now. They are the kind of players that have a hunger and desire to improve their soccer that makes for a coaches dream.
UK Elite – What’s been your favorite UK Elite memory so far?
Phil – Without a doubt receiving letters in the post from my then U11s team, they all sent messages back to the UK asking me to come back and coach them. Coaching them for 3 seasons has been a very fond memory in my coaching career as we share the passion and hunger to improve ourselves in the game.
Is there any particular coach you would like to hear from? Contact Social@UKElite.com or tweet us @UKElite