Jamie Brassington started his coaching at a young age, and his career has taken him on quite an unexpected challenging journey, but one he has relished throughout. In the first of our brand new feature he discusses his current position.
After coaching college football and also with Burton Albion and Colchester United in the UK, Jamie now coaches in one of the most rapidly progressive footballing countries in Europe.
My coaching journey started back in 2009, as an 18 year old, enrolling onto a course at North Warwickshire & Hinckley College, where I would undertake my FA Level one and two, alongside other coaching qualifications. Since then, I have gained my UEFA B licence, FA B Goalkeeper licence, FA Youth Award and I’m currently on my UEFA A Goalkeeper licence with the Icelandic FA (KSI).
I have had the pleasure of working alongside some excellent coaches and working with some very good players and I hope that this continues. My coaching so far has taken me from working as a college football coach in the UK, part time and full time roles in the English academy system with Burton Albion & Colchester United, which has led to my current role in Iceland as head of goalkeeping for Þrottur Reykjavik (Pronounced Throttur) who compete in the first division with both the men and the women. My main role is to work with the men’s/women’s first team goalkeepers and assist the head coaches (Both English) as well as this I work with the male/female goalkeepers aged 10 to 19.
Working abroad has always been an ambition of mine and when I saw the advert online from the manager of the men’s team (Gregg Ryder) I thought the time and opportunity was right to go and challenge myself in a completely different environment, than what I was used to. After sending my CV and a couple of phone calls with Gregg, I was convinced this was the way forward for me and everything was put into place for me to leave everything I was used to behind and embark on this adventure.
After Iceland’s successful Euro 2016 campaign, I was interested to see if what I heard/read was true about how they develop players and the facilities in place to help with this. On a whole, it is.
The main thing I have noticed here is that, children play football as often as they can. The artificial pitch at our club is open all day and as long as there is space on there, children will practice by their self or play with their friends, before/after training. As well as this, the amount of organised contact hour’s children have seems to be much more than back home, with the U8/U10 teams training three times per week and the U12/14/16/19 teams four or five times per week.
The standard of football over here has been very good from what I have seen so far, with many teams showing good technical and tactical qualities, whilst having a good mixture of home grown players, other Icelandic players and foreigners. Moving forward with the senior game, it would be massive, if an Icelandic club could qualify for the Europa League (Or Champions League) group stages. There have been a few clubs in recent years who have come close to qualifying but have fallen at the last hurdle.
For English players who drop out the academy system at 18-23, Iceland is a great place for them to come to try to make a career in the game. There are many players here who perform well and move onto bigger leagues in Norway, Denmark and Sweden, then onto other bigger European leagues.
Moving to a different country with a different language, can be seen as a big obstacle and the language here is difficult to understand/learn but it’s a challenge I’m personally willing to take, although everyone’s English is very good here.
So far my experiences in Iceland have all been positive, apart from just missing out on promotion to the premier league (Pepsi League) with both the Men’s and Women’s teams, hopefully this season will see us gain promotion. Looking back, it was a good decision to move away and I hope my journey will continue here
I will continue to keep you up to date on my coaching in Iceland about how the pre-season has gone, the start/end of the season and anything else in between.
Follow @Jamie1Brass for more updates