So first of all and most importantly we make some introductions?
My name is Jamie Doyle and I am currently an academy coach for Glasgow City FC. I have been working intermittently with the club for five years, whilst taking a brief spell as head coach of Queens Park Ladies in their promotional season of 2015.
So you are a coach, what exactly drew you to the idea?
There was a couple of things that got me involved in coaching. I had been released from a club and was just playing with my mates to keep me going after injuring my knee pretty badly, so the coach had suggested that if I was going to be out for a while I could go do my first badge or two and help out with coaching the younger squad to keep me involved.
To begin with I wasn’t really interested in taking up the role until I tried. Secondly when I realised my football brain was significantly better than my football body I eventually admitted to myself if I wanted to make any sort of progress in football it had to be in coaching. So I completed what is now the 1.1 and 1.2 youth pathway and ended up coaching a u14s boys side enjoying every second of it, partly because it made me look like a much more talented player than I actually was. I enjoyed delivering the coaching information I had picked up over time info and seeing them become better players as a result gave me a real buzz.
In your experience what do you believe is the best player you have ever coached?
That’s a really hard question as I've worked with so many talented footballers over my time as a coach, but for me there is certain things I look for in a player and its not always ability. I love the tactical side of the game and players who can read and control a game individually.
A good example Connor McLeod, I worked with Connor at Glasgow University and his ability to manipulate and alter the tempo of a game even at an amateur level was really impressive. Another Is the recently promoted Katie Rice, as most people familiar with the women's game will testify Katie has the ability when playing well to win games by herself and has done many times. Still to this day scoring two of the best goals I have ever seen, the first a spectacular free kick to win a national cup final and another a casual chip from roughly sixty yards against and under 16s boys side.
Who is the biggest prospect for girls football?
Again an interesting and difficult question. Working at an academy level you see alot of players go through development and eventually start to reach senior football you can start to see their level and the ones you see make it have two key qualities, an absolute burning desire to progress and an excellent work rate. It’s hard to pick just a few but pushed I'd have to say Lauren Davidson and Sophie Allison. Firstly Lauren who has worked incredibly hard at her game and always asks questions and looks to improve every session. She is now starting to see real rewards in this endeavour scoring 3 goals in her last 3 appearances at international level.
Secondly Sophie who in my opinion is the best all round goalkeeper I have seen male or female, she has it all and is actually an extremely decent outfield player too. An undoubted challenger for the number 1 spot in Scotland A squad. Naturally im biased in my choices as I have worked with both girls but there are some fantastic players out there, Celtic and Rangers have some great young talent and a special mention to Central Girls FA who seem to continually produces stars which is a massive credit to their academy work.
What do you believe is the best thing about girls football?
There are a few things but also some dislikes. I think the Match Day atmosphere is much more positive and relaxed, I played boys academy games and environments can become competitive which isn’t necessarily good for developing players. In my opinion parents have a tenancy to get carried away, coaches not focused on the right things and in turn the footballers allow the “Pro Youth” go to their heads. The girls game has a lot more focus on developing skill and creativity, parents are more reserved and supportive and generally speaking coaches are more relaxed. One down side is the refereeing, I feel the game is treated differently by officials and the game isn't encouraged to be physical which puts our top players at a disadvantage as fouls that are normally given here aren't in internationals or in the Women's Champions league so our players have to adapt to that.
Have you been involved in boys football at any point?
I have indeed. Apart from when I got started in coaching I also worked with my best man Andy Gardner at Glasgow University FC where we took one of the male sides. It was really interesting to see the mens game from a coaching point of view. I also had a brief time with Edusport Academy, although I didn't do very much coaching it was a great opportunity to be involved in Eddie Wolecki Black's back room staff. In fact I would like to use this little Q and A to thank Eddie. As much as I gave my insight into how I got started I owe everything to him. He gave me the opportunity to join Glasgow City and mentored me in his time there teaching and encouraging me to be a better coach and become a student of the game. Eddie is a wonderful coach and a great person and I am forever grateful to him for giving me a real passion for coaching. Anyone who has had a chat with Eddie will understand what I mean he is so passionate about the game and it can rub off on you. He's also passionate about tea no chat with Eddie is complete without a endless supply of the stuff.
Recent arguments suggest that the girls side of things will eventually overtake mens football at some point, would you agree?
Sadly no, the simple reason is generally its men in charge in most environments including media and football. Whoever in charge decides what you see on TV, what you read in papers and this untimely decides how much companies are willing to invest through sponsorship. Women's football will definitely grow further but I think it has a glass ceiling as long as society is predominantly male controlled. Unfortunately for young females you can't be what you can't see. This means most young females don't aspire to be athletes but instead known for what male she dates. Hopefully this can change.
So what are your plans for the future from a coaching point of view?
For the future my immediate plan is to get my UEFA B Licence and then hopefully my A licence but one step at a time. I've coached at every level in Scottish women's football from under 11 to senior except SWPL. I would love a crack at the top level and potentially European football. Its also no secret that I'm a massive Northern Irishman and would love the opportunity to work with the women's national side which is my ultimate goal.