Ryan studied BSc (Hons) Football Coaching and the Performance Specialist here at Wrexham Glyndŵr University between 2017-20.
How did your time at Wrexham Glyndŵr University prepare you for the world of work?
Glyndŵr gave me a balanced understanding of both the theoretical and practical sides of football coaching. We often went over different theories and teachings in the classroom and then had the opportunity to put into practice the theory we had just learnt. This helped in preparation for the real world, as we had background knowledge behind ‘best practice’ which would help us when we were actually doing the coaching. The teaching was thorough and we always had chances to apply theory, as the course had a very hands-on approach.
What does your current job involve?
I currently work within Foundation Phase Football as a Football Coach. I take multiple sessions per week across the North West following a coaching syllabus. I also deliver 1-2-1 hour sessions to improve technique, speed, agility and quickness. I take the Under 7 and 9 teams for team training and weekend fixtures.
I will soon be taking on a role in Mexico, teaching a girls grassroots programme for 4 weeks, and then I will be flying to Abu Dhabi to start my new full-time job over there as a Football Coach.
What have been your career highlights to date?
There have been a few proud moments to date. A really memorable highlight was achieving a 1st Class Honours in my degree. It shows that hard work and commitment over a prolonged period of time does pay off. Also, completing my UEFA B licence while at Glyndŵr was another great achievement and I felt it really helped me push on as a coach. More recently, I had the opportunity to take my team to Finch Farm (Everton Academy) and play a few of their teams. It was an amazing experience for myself and the boys.
What made you choose Wrexham Glyndŵr University?
A few reasons really. It was a lot closer to home than other universities down south which meant I could visit family more frequently. But in terms of the actual course itself, it really really stood out. As football coaching is fairly new in the transition to full-time employment, there aren’t many universities offering football coaching courses. But when I saw the opportunities Glyndŵr had to offer, my mind was made up. As well as getting the degree, you also have the chance to get your FAW C licence (Level 2) and UEFA B Licence (Level 3). You get taught by lecturers who have a vast amount of experience in different fields and years of knowledge in coaching. The facilities are also a massive bonus; in my final year we had the chance to have all our lectures at the brand new Colliers Park, which is a state-of-the-art training facility. It allowed us to use the best available equipment which really helped enhance our experience.
What kind of student were you?
I think it took time to adjust initially, going from college straight to university, but as I settled in I think I started to grasp the academic side of university. I have always tried to be proactive in my approach. Never leave anything to the last minute and give yourself the best possible chance for success. I of course enjoyed my down time with friends, but my main priority was my studies. I had come to Glyndŵr for a reason and that was to achieve the best possible grade I could in my degree. I sometimes felt I was pestering my lecturers because I was always asking for advice or meetings to go over some work, but they are there to help so do ask for it if you need it.
How did studying at Glyndŵr help you?
It helped me massively. The course content was really interesting and engaging. The tutors are helpful and knowledgeable and the facilities were top notch. Overall, I had a great time studying here and never felt out of my depth. This is due to the friendly and approachable tutor-student environment that has been created at Glyndŵr.
What advice would you give someone wanting to work in a similar field?
I would say to 100% get some practical experience alongside your studies. This will help you so much and will give you the opportunity to make local connections as well as apply the theory you are learning in the classroom. Don’t be afraid if you haven’t coached before or are fairly new, because I was in the exact same situation. Everyone has to start somewhere.
Would you recommend undertaking a course with Wrexham Glyndŵr University, and why?
I would highly recommend studying here at Glyndŵr. There are many benefits of spending 3 years here as previously stated. Another massive bonus is the fact the class sizes are generally small, so you get a more personal approach in class and you feel that you can connect better with the staff and your peers.
What is your favourite memory of your time at Glyndŵr?
I have quite a few, but my main memory would be finally submitting my dissertation after so many hours of hard work. Although I had moved back home due to the pandemic, it was a real sense of achievement for me and one that really paid off in the end.