Simon Collins Bio 2015
As A former Professional Soccer Player with 15 years playing and 10 years coaching, I have been fortunate to sample the life that so many kids aspire to achieve. Knowing what sacrifices are required and the commitment is needed become a Professional sports person it is my passion to pass my knowledge on the aspiring Youths of today.
Throughout my career I have had many highs and just as many lows. It is with this in mind that I feel that to become a professional athlete you have to keep two feet firmly on the ground; and the best and most qualified person to do this is your coach.
I have been fortunate to play professional Soccer in three countries, England, Hong Kong and Australia. As A young Soccer player it was my dream to play for my local professional team, I never quiet managed that – but I did get to play against them on many occasions, and I was always able to play a big part in my team’s success against them. Scoring goals against a team you followed as child is very strange but very satisfying, especially when you score and see your old school friends in the crowd with a look on their faces that says “how could you”.
My Professional career started when I was 12 years old. I was spotted by a talent scout for a team called Huddersfield Town. I played at all levels from the school boy teams, youth team, reserve team and then the pinnacle, the first team. We as A club achieved some all-time highs. I was part of the team that won promotion into the Championship via the play offs. The experience of playing in front 66,000 very passionate soccer fans is one I will never forget.
As with many walks of life there comes a time for change. This for me this was a transfer to other professional Soccer clubs – Clubs that played in different divisions and clubs that played in other countries.
These experiences are valuable; they move you out of your comfort zone – having to move house, and leaving family and friends behind and try to learn new languages and cultures all while in pursuit for your goals.
While playing in Hong Kong for a team called Happy Valley FC. I was part of the team that reached the F.A Cup final. I was even fortunate to score 2 goals in the semi-final that helped our team reach the final. The final was the first showcase soccer game to be played at the new ly opened 65,000 seat stadium. While experiencing the highs of reaching the final I had my first low. We were beaten in the final by a better team on the day.
From Hong Kong I moved on to a team in Australia. My time there was short as I was on loan still from my parent club in England. I was short but very sweet. I was one of the first foreigner players to represent Western Australia in a state cup game. We played Adelaide and I scored the winner in a very wet and windy encounter.
My experiences in Hong Kong and Australia were all before I turned 20 years of age. My parent club at the time, Huddersfield Town, had a plan for me. They need me to gain experience out of my comfort zone; life experience.
Upon returning to England I quickly gained a regular place in the first team and my career was up and running.
My career took me to many countries as a guest or representative of a team.
I played games in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia and of course the UK.
The teams I played for include –
- Huddersfield Town
- Halifax Town
- Happy Valley
- Spearwood Dalmatinac
- Plymouth Argyle
- Macclesfield Town
- Shrewsbury Town
The low – As a part of the youth team at Huddersfield Town I sustained an injury, one that eventually lead to my early retirement from the professional game.
The game has moved on immensely from when I started, the training techniques are so much more advance the facilities are in a better equipped and the coaches are so much more educated.
This brings me to now – As a player I always had a good understanding of the game. When my injuries started to affect my speed it was my ability to read the situation that helped me on the field. With this in mind I decided that I had more to offer and since my career ended I have revisited school to re-educate myself. My passion is soccer and I wanted to make a difference. I took my coaching qualifications, studied the psychology of youth sport as part of my soccer education and spent 6 years working as a Sports coordinator in a school for children with behavioural disabilities. My time spent with these young adults was very rewarding. We as a team learnt quickly that to achieve anything in life you have to be determined and open enough, and brave enough to ask for help.
When we could see measurable results within one school environment I decided that this team approach to education and using sport as the positive medium could benefit multiple schools. I along with some like mind friends set up our own coaching company. We started with Soccer but quickly became much more diverse. We became a multi sports company that delivered sports for all – soccer, Gymnastics, Cricket, tennis to name a few. We started with after school clubs which quickly turned into full time coaches on placement within many schools.
Who benefit most? Everyone! The children got to play the favourite sports and were coached by fully qualified staff. The sessions were fun, active and challenging. The school now had extra staff within their organisation that could work with large groups of pupils and teach them the value of being part of a team. These lessons didn’t stop in the gym or on the practice field. Our staff were asked to be support for teachers within the academic lesson. The coaches’ presence put the pupils at ease and the threat of reading or writing became less prevalent – they had their coach stood by them for support.
While building my coaching company I was asked to front an organisation that wanted to establish soccer coaching at private schools throughout the country. This was to be a high end product, a first class soccer education provided by current or ex-professional players. The target audience had high expectations and demanded the best. I put together a portfolio of coaches that were willing and available. These coaches had played at international, Premier and Championship level. They were household names.
The flagship coaching school that I set up was for one of the most prestige’s Schools in the world – Harrow Schools. This school is used by royalty from around the world to educate their children.
Such was the impact of our involvement with Harrow School I was asked to write a soccer specific syllabus that was to run from years 8 to 18. I had the task of educating the staff and ensuring the program was implemented correctly.
At the same time as all the involvement with the education authorities I was Managing Semi – Professional soccer teams (adult level). I managed three teams that aspired to reach the football leagues.
My managerial experience was gained from my time with Ossett Town FC, Stocksbridge Park Steels FC and Bradford Park Avenue FC. The latter being one of the highest profile managerial positions in Non-League Soccer. My time at these clubs was valuable; the experience I have gained from many situations both good and bad is what drives me today. Seeing that with perseverance and hard work you can reach your goals.
In 2010-11 I was asked by Queens Park Rangers to become a talent scout. The purpose of this role was to write game reports and bring to the attention of soccer club any potential new talent.
Being a former English professional Soccer player, I thoroughly understand the importance of talent ‘ID’ and effective player pathways that increases the potential for young athletes and adults to reach their maximum potential. I have had valuable experience working at both professional and semi-professional levels. I have been responsible for full managerial duties on a permanent basis for two professional soccer clubs in the UK, building a team full of great character and team spirit. I have also been part of the coaching staff at other a semi-professional football clubs; where I was able to effectively communicate with varying abilities to help them achieve their aims and ambitions. These positions also involved working with the club’s academy players and developing the Football Association’s individual development plans to meet levels and expectations.
I have vast experience, which includes working at all levels of sport and community development that have positively influenced and changed people’s lives through strategic planning to effective delivery. I have supported the local community and schools and I have been successful in securing big lottery and community funding for both school and local projects.
Professional Footballer . Macclesfield Town Football Club.
Played 66, 1st team games
Professional Footballer . Shrewsbury Town Football Club.
12, 1st team games played
Professional Footballer. Plymouth Argyle Football Club.
Played 96, 1st team games
Professional Footballer. Huddersfield Town Football Club
Played 75, 1st team games
During my playing career at Huddersfield Town Football Club I had a year away from English football. I went on loan to a professional football team in Hong Kong – Happy Valley and Played 25, 1st team games and also a team in Perth Australia – Spearwood Dalamtinac F.C and Played 21 1st team games.
Teams played for at Semi-professional level:
Frickley Athletic F.C 106 games
Belper town F.C 45 games
Bradford Park Avenue F.C 70 games
Gratham town F.C 2 games
Stocksbridge Park Steels F.C 10 games