NEWLY-APPOINTED Isle of Man national football team manager Steve Burns has announced his extended management team for the senior men’s squad.
Ben Qualtrough will join the team as lead coach, while Paul O’Brien and Rachel Croft will continue in their roles as head of goalkeeping and team sports therapist respectively.
Qualtrough is a UEFA B licensed coach who is currently studying for his A license and completing the FA Youth Award module three. For good measure he also has a BA (Hons) degree in coaching and sports development.
Ben has a wide coaching experience having worked in Derby County’s academy for two seasons as well as two years with Manchester United Soccer Schools. Since returning to the island two years ago he has been instrumental in developing the under-15 and u18 players at the Development Centre. He is also coach of Canada Life Premier League side Rushen United.
Paul O’Brien will continue the excellent work he has done with the island’s goalkeepers at all levels over the last three years. He is qualified to goalkeeping level two status and is currently studying for his UEFA level three.
He is widely acknowledged as the best in his field in the island and has accumulated a wealth of experience and success through his 11 years at St George’s Football Club.
Rachel Croft joined the team as physiotherapist in 2011 and will continue to work in this role. With a BSc (Hons) degree in sports therapy, she has also agreed to take on additional responsibilities to investigate how the squad can make better use of the island’s sports science facilities.
In addition to these three, Burns has also recruited a number of additional personnel to assist with aspects such as VT analysis and player profiling.
Commenting on his new team, Steve said: ‘I am delighted to welcome Ben to the management team. He is a well-respected and an extremely forward-thinking coach which fits my vision for the future perfectly. He will add a lot of value to the development of players on an individual basis and to the team as a whole.
‘I am equally excited that Paul and Rachel will continue in their existing roles, while also embracing some wider responsibility in relation to player and squad development in their respective fields.
‘The national side has been incredibly successful in recent years and the players involved should be applauded especially for how they have raised the profile of our sport with their fantastic performances at the Bowl during last season’s Inter League Cup campaign.
‘We are extremely fortunate that we already have a great basis from which to start and the management team’s job will be to build on this.
‘It is important that we are always looking for opportunities to improve all aspects of the squad environment thus we are looking to implement some new methodology into the various processes we control, whether it be player selection, player and team development, general communication or use of sports science etc.
‘It now looks increasingly likely that our first competitive game will be in the spring of 2013, this most likely being the preliminary round of the FA Inter League Cup. However, we will not know this for sure until January. I am hoping therefore that we will have at least two preparatory matches in the build up to that game.
‘On this basis I will most likely name my first squad in January and in the interim we will use the time available to continue developing our long-term strategy.’