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Youth coaching standards on the up, says Matthew Joseph

Monday 20 Oct 2014
Matthew Joseph played over 200 games for Leyton Orient during his career

Matthew Joseph believes his "full spectrum" of knowledge from the game can help him work with club academy coaches in his new role as an FA Youth Coach Educator.

A former defender with almost 400 League games to his name with Cambridge United and Leyton Orient, Joseph was also a youth player with Arsenal and a graduate from The FA’s National School at Lilleshall.

After being involved in coaching and education for the past seven years, he will now be supporting club academies in the east of the country as they bid to develop the next generation of young players via the Elite Player Performance Plan.

Joseph’s role as one of 18 FA Youth Coach Educators will see him work with club academies at each age phase (5-11 Foundation, 12-16 Youth Development and 17-21 Pro Development), to help support the Elite Player Performance Plan and develop the next generation of young players.

Matt Joseph in action for Leyton Orient against Spurs

Matt Joseph in action against Les Ferdinand of Spurs

And having seen the improvements in coaching across the nation, the 42-year-old believes the picture for English football is better than what is often painted for the public.

"I’ve been working for seven years now with The FA in coach development and the standard of coaching is always something which concerns people,” said Joseph, who is enjoying his induction for the job after working as an FA regional coach.

"But there are more courses and support for coaches now than there has ever been, so by definition the standard of coaching will improve and it has been improving steadily.

"We have coaches who are very innovative, mixed in with lots of esteemed coaches who have been around the game for a long time.

"So there is a good mix of people who are able to utilise each other’s strengths and at the moment, we have got a good crop of young players coming through despite what is often portrayed in the media.

"I just can’t wait to start working with the coaches and the clubs’ academies. Our job is to support those coaches to tailor their qualifications and support them in lots of ways."

Joseph is no stranger to the elite end of football at youth level, having learned his trade as a youngster under Pat Rice with the Arsenal youth team and training with some of the country’s best young players at Lilleshall.

And while he was soaking up the methods of coaching at the time, he has seen the change between the eras and what he feels is the development of the profession.

"Looking back now, Pat was a very good coach and he was innovative and it was interesting for me to see it from an elite end as a youngster," he explained. 

“The process and the methods which go into preparing players and understanding coaching has changed massively”

Matt Joseph 
FA Youth Coach Educator

"Going on to play professional football in the lower leagues and in non-League as well, I’ve had a full spectrum of the game at all levels.

"The game itself hasn’t changed in a lot of ways. Fundamentally it’s still two goals, one ball and two teams, but the process and the methods which go into preparing players and understanding coaching has changed massively.

"So the message of how we coach has dramatically changed. We’ve always had good coaches and the best coaches in my opinion are those who can relate to players and actually get the best out of them.

"There have always been coaches who have been able to do that and the way in which coaches gain their experiences through studying opportunities now is completely different.

"Coaching is now seen as a vocation for lots of people and there are more opportunities that are open to people, with the clubs needing coaches at every level in academies and development centres.

"As a result, I believe the standard has risen because people have the aspiration to go and work."

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels