Sunday, 22 June 2014
Global football’s showpiece tournament is well underway in Brazil, with teams from six continents competing in the 2014 World Cup.
Asia is represented at this tournament in the form of Iran, Japan and South Korea, and one University of Worcester graduate and former lecturer is working to ensure that the best talents that South East Asia has to offer will reach their full potential.
27 year-old Will Patz, who completed his undergraduate degree in Sports Coaching Science at Worcester before working as a sessional lecturer at the University up until 2013, is currently Programme Manager for Singaporean-based ESPZEN Soccer School, having previously worked for Manchester United Soccer Schools in the Southeast Asian country.
His current role is the latest in a succession of impressive coaching jobs, as Will explains: “My degree at Worcester gave me plenty of opportunities to find work placements in football coaching that otherwise would not have been possible, such as working with the academies at both Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion.
“I enjoy begin a football coach: the energy, passion, excitement and social environment allows me to get a lot out of it as a hobby and a profession.”
Will also acted as Worcestershire under 18s coach, Head of Football at Malvern College, Sports Scientist and Coach at West Bromwich Albion Football Club and Sportivate Co-ordinator at Worcestershire City Council before being appointed Coach by Manchester United Soccer Schools in 2011.
The UEFA ‘B’ Licensed coach has recently led Singapore’s inaugural McDonald’s Football Clinic, designed to identify the best young talent in the area, and he says that the future looks bright for the development of the game in the region.
Will, whose long term ambitions include gaining a PhD and lecturing within Higher Education, says: “The standard of football in Asia is still developing, but more recently at a greater rate. There are some very passionate supporters of the English Premier League within South East Asia and that can only benefit that development of the game at grassroots and elite levels.
“However, for a country like Singapore, which has a population about the size of Birmingham, it will be very difficult to qualify for the World Cup over countries such as Japan, Australia and Iran.
“Since I have been in Singapore the structure is starting to be put in place, with many South East Asian Cup triumphs over more established football countries like Thailand and the Philippines.”
He continues: “Traditionally, Singapore has been a business focused country with sport a lower priority. As a result the national governing bodies are only now beginning to be supported by the government like they would be in Europe.
“The future is looking bright though, with much more foreign investment in local clubs and an influx of players from across the globe, giving Singapore the potential to be an international hub for football development in the future.”