(Gary Curneen, left, during a visit to Hibernian when he took time out from his busy schedule in the USA).
Here at YFS we speak to a variety of people, all walks of life and who perform all sorts of roles for the sake of the beautiful game, we were lucky enough to have someone different along to have a conversation. Gary Curneen is the current head women's soccer coach at Cal State University, Bakersfield, and the founder of Modern Soccer Coach Education. His role is full-time in nature at a college in the USA who compete at the Division I level. When asked about the role itself, he said: “Like most people in the game I am passionate about developing players, teams, to succeed on and off the field.”
But how does the girls game in America operate, and how does it compare to the rapidly growing equivalent in Scotland?
“I'm not familiar with the Scottish landscape so can't compare. The girls game is huge in the States and the players are fortunate enough to have huge amount of opportunities with both games and training. The college game is the destination for most top players and it becomes a full-time environment with training every day and access to top facilities and full-time coaches.”
Curneen originally played in the US, once his playing career was completed he continued life at a coaching capacity for an additional two years. “I originally was going to go into the business world and corporate America but got cold feet. My college coach gave me an opportunity to stay on and help him out, along with getting my masters in business and administration and I took it."
After settling into the role he mentioned that “I realized I had a completely wrong perception of what coaching entailed." He continued: "I got introduced to tactics, systems, training models, science, psychology and was hooked.” He is now owner of a UEFA A licence thanks to the services of the FA in Ireland.
Gary has added to this by writing a book Modern Soccer Coach 2014 adding his own take on what he says "sets the greatest coaches apart in today’s game and how to create a culture of excellence within a programme.”
So overall the girls game appears to be rich in opportunities, in Scotland the girls game is catching up with more and more clubs linking up with their mens equivalent, more and more work is being done creating the pathway from the younger age groups all the way through to the senior team. “I think cultures in the US and UK could learn a lot from each other. Players in the US excel in the physical side of the game and I think with more resources and funding in the women's game in the UK, it will allow Scotland to continue to excel.”
Adding to that he also mentioned that he had recently came along to have a look at the women’s game in Scotland. “I was there in February and visited Hibs and Celtic ladies teams. I really enjoyed it and was very impressed by the level and the coaching.
"Hopefully I can come back more often."