On this fine white Sunday we welcome a guest to answer a few questions for us. So lets make some introductions?
I am Niall Marshall, Head Coach of Westerlands LAFC. I’m a UEFA B Licenced Coach who has been coaching for 16 years in both Scotland and The USA.
Westerlands LAFC? Tell us more.
Westerlands FC were established in 1967 as an informal Glasgow University Alumni team. Over the last few years the ties between the University and the Club have become more formal and in 2014 the Club decided to launch a Ladies Section. Westerlands LAFC were born and entered the SWFL 2nd Division West in 2015 and gained immediate promotion to the 1st Division. Thanks to the great structure within the Club and the positive environment in which the club has run we have a group of thirty five footballers. This pre-season we are looking to add a minimum of 10 additional players to the Club as we expand to having two teams in the league and a Development Group below that.
You mentioned a positive environment, does you and your coaches approach differ from the traditional and regular?
At our club it’s not about us; It’s about the players. I’ve been involved in coaching for 16 years and have been lucky enough to meet and work with coaches from all across the planet, including some who have been involved all the way up to the top of world football. From observing how well and how poorly other coaches interact with their players I have developed and created my own coaching and management philosophy. I have now had the chance to fully put that into action at Westerlands LAFC and I genuinely believe it separates us from many of the other amateur clubs that we come across.
The behaviour that we insist upon from our Players and Coaches and the way in which they behave towards each other, towards the opposition and towards the referees creates a very positive environment. But not only do we insist upon it we enforce it.
Our training is well organised with emphasis on the use of the ball meaning our players enjoy training, enjoy the environment and as a result it encourages more members to join us. As I said, too many Coaches think the game is about them, it’s not – it’s about the players.
Do you have any success stories to share with us?
With our team only being one year old it’s hard to have many success stories so far but seeing how far some players came over the course of just one season was very satisfying. Top goalscorer Kelly Lewis was playing 11 a Side football for the first time ever, while our most improved award went to Holli Coleman who joined the club after a long break from football. Holli worked her way into the squad, worked her way into the first team and by the end of the season was an integral part of the group. Both of these stories were quite special in our first season together as a club.
What’s the plans for preseason and the up and coming season?
I’ve put together a varied pre-season plan to make it as interesting as possible for the players. We’ll spend plenty of time on the ball and as much as possible all the fitness will include the use of the ball. I’ve also arranged some Boxing Classes, Futsal and Fives to give the players something different to focus on.
For this season it will all be about consolidating our Club, getting the 2nd team up and running and consolidating our first team so that we find our feet in the 1st Division.
Big thanks for Niall for joining us today, at the time of writing there is a void where a Westerlands intra squad friendly should have been, much like a number of clubs today snow was the culprit.