UK Elite continue to employ some of the brightest and most promising youth soccer coaches both globally and domestically here in the US. Whilst many stay on with UK Elite Soccer, others use their time with UK Elite to further themselves and gain much needed experience for their next coaching challenge.
Richard Camden is a former UK Elite Soccer coach who since leaving UK Elite has gone to establish himself within the English game.
EXTRA TIME – Explain your current involvement in soccer and the work you do at First Soccer?
RICHARD – I’m currently the Director of First Soccer Ltd and an Academy Recruitment Scout for Chelsea FC.
We (First Soccer) work in the Buckingham, Berkshire and Oxfordshire area of the United Kingdom, coaching children from the age of two – 16. We work in over 40 schools and nurseries coaching over 2000 children a week a fun and educational football program. We also have our own development program for the above average ability players to try and bridge the gap between grassroots and academy football.
We have had over 80 players train and trial in five years at various academies with a 40% signing rate which is incredible. This record led Chelsea FC to offer myself a recruitment role for the Academy helping them find “The best” young players out there.
EXTRA TIME – How long have you been involved in soccer, both coaching and playing?
RICHARD – I have been coaching for around 17 years now originally beginning with community at work at Wycombe Wanderers FC.
EXTRA TIME – What do you think to the current state of youth soccer coaching?
RICHARD – My personal opinion of youth football is the coaching in general is getting much better and the standard higher especially with the FA Youth Coaching Modules. There are so many talented boys and girls out there now getting the coaching they deserve, but there is always room for improvement especially amongst the grassroots volunteers. The FA needs to reduce costs of the badges and professional development to provide more support to the grassroots clubs that are primarily run for fun. This would push more clubs to send all volunteers to improve their coaching education.
EXTRA TIME – When and where did you work for UK Elite and for how long?
RICHARD – I came to work for UK Elite in 2003 after seeing an advertisement in Four Four Two magazine and attended an interview in Hertfordshire, from this moment I knew UK Elite were the “ones” who were going to progress me. I worked two nine month contracts working mainly around Edison, Allentown, Manalapan and Montgomery with various other areas in between.
EXTRA TIME – How did UK Elite help you progress as a coach?
RICHARD – If it wasn’t for UK Elite and specially – to name a few names – Pat McCarry and Andrew Broadbent, I probably wouldn’t be coaching today. I didn’t realize how good a coach I could be until working with these guys. The professional approach and development of coaches is the best I have ever witnessed and been a part of.
EXTRA TIME – Favorite UK Elite memory?
RICHARD – My favorite memory of the USA is a tough one, as I remember everything so fondly from making some of the best friends from all over who I still have regular contact with, from winning various tournaments as a coach to the brilliant residential camps. I even loved the petite sessions! So rewarding.
EXTRA TIME – What would you say to potential UK Elite Coaches?
RICHARD – To any new coaches potentially thinking about going but not quite sure…go do it! It made me into the coach and man I am today. It was a life experience full of rewards and without UK Elite my own company would not exist. You’ll meet new friends for life and you’ll be coaching football to amazing enthusiastic, energetic and talented kids! I hope to return one day!