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'The best decision I have ever made' - 24-year-old Adam Shaw on his Challenger Sports experience

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With recruitment days now open for the 2018 Challenger Sports experience, Youth Football Scotland caught up with a young Scottish coach
who has been living the dream for the past two years. Challenger Sports offer you the chance to get paid to coach in the USA over the summer,
and Adam has never looked back since heading to the States.
 
24-year-old Adam Shaw attended a recruitment day in Glasgow 2 years ago, but could not have known how much it would have changed his
life, hailing it as the ‘best decision I have ever made’ to go to America and coach.
 
Like all Challenger Sports coaches, Adam was given a base to work out of in America – his being Gonzales, Louisiana. Adam has become
very fond of the club he coaches, saying;
 
‘They are an amazing club with some great people around it trying to make it one of the top clubs in Louisiana, they really believe in player
development over winning which is big for me..’
 
There are a lot of things to enjoy while out coaching in the USA, and one of the positive aspects for Adam was of course the sunshine –
saying that coaching ‘in nice weather makes it so much better’.
 
Coaching in the sunshine is great, but what really keeps coaches going back is the reward of working with the children and helping them
improve their game. Adam had some accent trouble, but the kids could understand him eventually;
 
‘I always enjoy teaching the kids new things about soccer. I always love when they struggle to understand me for the first day of camp
but when they get over that stage & try to intimidate me it is really funny to listen to them.’
 
Adam’s experience with Challenger Sports has kept him going back to America, with another trip planned in 2018. When asked if he has
advice for those who may be considering signing up, he said;
 
If you are lucky enough to be given the chance, DO IT! Going to America & working with Gonzales is the best decision I have ever 
made & I would not change it. It is an environment & lifestyle that you don't get back home in Scotland & one that you need to grab with both hands.
 
Leaving home for a summer and getting the opportunity to travel and meet new people gave Adam the chance to grow as a person. Acknowledging
that it can be a big decision to make, but that the reward is worth it, Adam said;
 
‘I have seen myself become a better coach & person from the experience. As a person, moving away from home can be daunting but it allows you
to grow up & mature. The people I have around me at the soccer club have helped me massively with this process.’
 
Another positive outcome of the Challenger experience for Adam was being able to stay with the Brizzard family, who took Adam in and treated him
as 'one of their own'. Coaches will travel throughout America, staying with amazing families who are happy to host the travelling coaches. Adam still
keeps in touch with the Brizzard family, and said: 
 
'I live with a family called The Brizzard's who have accepted me into their family & their home as if I was one of their own. They have 3 amazing kids
who I can now call my brother & sisters.'
 
With recruitment days in Edinburgh and Dundee now open, click here to register your interest and start dreaming of a Summer in the States!
 
Full interview below:
 
What drew you to Challenger Sports summer coaching?
 
1 - I had always heard of Challenger Sports & how good an opportunity it would be to coach in America. I was meant to be out with them 5 years ago but due to circumstances at home it wasn't possible for me to do it but I always said when it rises again then I would do it. I went to the recruitment day in Glasgow 2 years ago & met some of the people involved with the company. Overall that was great day as I found out then that I would be offered a contract which I was delighted with 
 
Where were you based in America, and what other locations did you coach in?
 
2 - Over the last 2 years I have been mainly based in Gonzales which is in south Louisiana working with the soccer club down there. They are an amazing club with some great people around it trying to make it one of the top clubs in Louisiana, they really believe in player development over winning which is big for me because it is something I fully believe in when it comes to coaching. During the summer camps I was based in Louisiana but I got to travel to some really nice places like Mandeville, Madisonville & Thibodaux to name a few. I stayed with some great families who I still keep in touch with whether I'm in Glasgow or Gonzales.
 
What was your favourite part about coaching in America? 
 
3 - My favourite part about coaching in America was the sunshine. Going out to coach is a joy anyway but doing it in nice weather makes it so much better... very warm but better. Another enjoyable aspect of coaching in America was doing the summer camps & being able to meet & work with new kids, I always enjoy teaching the kids new things about soccer. I always love when they struggle to understand me for the first day of camp but when they get over that stage & try to intimidate me it is really funny to listen to them.
 
Did you have the opportunity to travel at the end? 
 
4 - I never took the opportunity to travel at the end of my contract but it is something I'm looking to do at the end of 2018 & I would highly advise people to do it. If coaches don't choose to travel at the end then another opportunity for them to travel is during the 4th of July week, Challenger Sports give us the time off so I took advantage of that as I travelled to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida with Alex Edwards who also coaches at Gonzales Soccer Club. An amazing experience which will live long in the memory.
 
What piece of advice would you give Scottish coaches who might be considering this opportunity? 
 
5 - If you are lucky enough to be given the chance, DO IT! Going to America & working with Gonzales is the best decision I have ever made & I would not change it. For the summer coaches, look into the possibility of staying out as an Academy Trainer & working with a soccer club in your region. It is an environment & lifestyle that you don't get back home in Scotland & one that you need to grab with both hands.
 
What have you learnt from the experience as a whole?
 
6 - Since being here I have learned loads both on & off the soccer field. I have seen myself become a better coach & person from the experience. As a coach I have changed my outlook on coaching, when I coached in Scotland I wanted my teams to play nice passing football & try to win at same time but when we didn't when I would get frustrated which I now know wasn't a good way to be. Development is now the highest & only priority on my list when coaching. As a person, moving away from home can be daunting but it allows you to grow up & mature. The people I have around me at the soccer club have helped me massively with this process.
 
Anything else you want to mention?
 
7 - Something I would like to add for the ones who choose to become an Academy Trainer.... while working for the soccer club I get to live with an amazing family for the full duration of my time there before & after summer camps. I live with a family called The Brizzard's who have accepted me into their family & their home as if I was one of their own. They have 3 amazing kids who I can now call my brother & sisters.
 
 
Adam with the Brizzards
 
Last modified on Thursday, 25 January 2018 13:56
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