A Blantyre Soccer Academy coach has earned a move to take up coaching at Celtic.
Laura Daly, who has been at Blantyre for the past two years, was approached by the Glasgow side off the back of her success at the Academy. Daly had previously spent five years at Motherwell Community Trust before making the short journey to wear the Black and Yellow of Blantyre.
Youth Football Scotland were fortunate to catch up with Laura to talk about her move.
Calum McCaffery: Can you tell us about your background in football?
Laura Daly: Yeah of course. So I’ve played football from as young as I can remember, and my first ever memory of football is when the boys in my primary wouldn’t let me play with them because I was a girl. Something that girls these days are fortunate not to experience which I think is excellent!
I’ve played for numerous clubs such as Celtic, Rangers, Glasgow Girls, Motherwell Development, and I also had a cameo appearance as I’d call it for Airdrie Ladies when they were short of players. But my football playing career started at East Kilbride Girls/Ladies and I will never forget those days.
Unfortunately after a few bad injuries, I gave up playing full time to coach and try give back an unforgettable experience to the girls I encounter along the way! I’ve been coaching for over 12 years now.
CM: How many years did you spend at Blantyre?
LD: I joined Blantyre in December 2017 after a five year spell at Motherwell Football Club Community Trust before my contract expired and they had no funding to renew it. So I went looking for a fresh challenge. So it’s been a relatively short spell at Blantyre but a great spell at the same time.
CM: What are your fondest memories at the club?
LD: I’ve a lot. From building a successful pathway for girls in the local area to play football, to being short listed for a recognition award at the SWF ALBA Awards on Saturday 30th November 2019! I still can’t quite believe it.
CM: What do you think you'll miss most about Blantyre?
LD: Without doubt - the girls I coached and the parents. We had such a bond on and off the pitch and I think things like that are special. Without them I couldn’t have done the great work I managed to at the club. So to all the girls and parents - thank you!
CM: When did the opportunity arise to join Celtic?
LD: Celtic approached me, with what I believe to be, on the back of my success within Blantyre. I had also shown interest in joining the club if it ever became possible as it’s a club close to my heart. But you’d need to ask Celtic that!
CM: What was your reaction when you were offered the role at Celtic?
LD: It was something I couldn’t believe! As a Celtic fan personally - it’s something you dream of. And it was an opportunity I couldn’t say no to as I believe I am ready for this next big test of my coaching ability.
CM: What are your main goals for 2020 at Celtic?
LD: For me, it’s always just about making a difference to the girls within the club I’m coaching at. So I’ll be aiming to help them develop their talent, and push another step closer to the top tier teams within the set up. I also want to contribute to continuing the clubs recent success in 2019 - which I personally think was nothing short of incredible!
CM: Are you excited to be working at a club that has done so well at youth level in recent years?
LD: 100%! I’m just keen to get in the door now and get on the pitch for the first time. The staff I’ve met so far are all lovely and it’s great to be surrounded by so many positive role models for the girls.
CM: Do you have any long term goals?
LD: My two biggest goals in life have always been to get involved with Celtic, which I can now thankfully say I’ve done - and to also follow in the footsteps of Pauline Hamill within the Scottish Women’s National Team as she’s always been my role model and who I look to for inspiration (Pauline if you see this - let’s chat about possible opportunities ;) )
Well done Laura and from all of us at YFS, good luck at Celtic!