In the first of our features meeting up with some of Disability Football’s fantastic supporters, we caught up with Liam Kay, who many of you will have seen in and around many of the SYACL clubs. Liam has a wealth of experience at every level of the game, so our Website editor Margaret Gregory caught up with him.
Liam during his time @ L A Galaxy
Margaret started by asking Liam to share a potted history of his career and how he came to be involved in coaching and mentoring.
Liam explained, “I have had a passion for football all my life. I was fortunate enough to represent and Captain Rotherham School Boys and played at Aston Villa and Barnsley FC as a youth player. I had a little time playing semi-professional football at Emley FC after coming back from a bad knee injury – but that was cut short due to me snapping my ACL a second time and dislocating my knee. Ronnie Glavin who was the Manager at the time suggested that I tried coaching – as playing was no longer an option. I was really fortunate that I had many coaches who would let me help at sessions, observe sessions and mentor me as a coach.”
Liam continued, “I have coached in Europe and the USA; and I have worked at professional clubs Barnsley FC and Manchester City, both coaching and scouting. For the last three years I have been scouting for Manchester United.”
“I have been an FA Mentor for 5 years, supporting grassroot coaches which is a great role. I have since spent two seasons as the Disability FA mentor; this involved working with local clubs, looking at the club’s philosophies, and supporting and developing coaches.”
“I have also been involved in the England Talent ID events in the North of England, identifying talent for the national team.”
Margaret then asked, “Tell us a little about your scouting role at Manchester United.”
Liam replied, “I’m Academy scout – I will go into professional football clubs and do match reports or player reports and feed these back to Manchester United.”
Margaret, “You’ve made a fantastic contribution to the South Yorkshire Ability Counts League, Liam. Tell us a little about your involvement in coaching with the League and what your priorities have been.”
Liam, “I was allocated hours from the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA to go and support Disability teams. I have loved the role and I have met some great coaches along the way. Hopefully, the project will get the funding for next season as it helps many coaches and players.”
“I helped clubs develop a philosophy, scheme of works, session planning, CPD events, and supported coaches either to gain qualifications or give them new ideas.”
Margaret, “What would you say are the most important aspects of coaching people living with disabilities?
Liam, “Always be clear on your instructions and have good patience. Don’t underestimate the standard of the players when planning a session and make it fun!!!”
Margaret, “Finally, Liam, what would you say to anyone considering becoming involved with disability football?
Liam, “Do it!!! it’s rewarding, and support is always here if you need it! “
The SYACL would like to thank Liam for his fantastic support and for giving up his time to talk to our Website.