The new director of coach development for the West Coast Auto Group Football Club has impressive credentials.
The local soccer club announced Adam Day will be a key member of its coaching staff.
He will head up both the micro program, and teach the club’s many volunteer coaches how to be better at their job.
He grew up in Kent, England with dreams of becoming a professional footballer. He apprenticed with Charleton Athletic of the English Premier League, and AFC Bournemouth of the second division. He also played two seasons of semi-pro soccer with Fisher Athletic of London.
Day enrolled at the University of Science and Arts at Oklahoma in 2002, located in Chickasha, which is a small town near Oklahoma city. He played for the Drovers in the NAIA, and ended as the team’s all-time assists leader.
Day arrived in the Lower Mainland to try out for the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2007. He made the cut down to a 26-player roster, but he had the misfortune of playing centre midfield, and the team was well stocked with talent at the position – including the popular Martin Nash.
Though his soccer journey, Day acquired a prestigious UEFA A licence, and while he did not make the Whitecaps, he was able to coach at the North Shore Development Centre, then with Quest University in Squamish.
His opportunity to work for Arsenal came from “a phone call out of the blue,” he said. They offered the opportunity for him to be the head coach and technical director for their youth academy in Greece.
“It was exactly what I needed at that point in my career,” he said of 18 months at the facility. “I loved the experience.”
The Gunners are known for bringing all their firepower to bear, and their uptempo offensive style has rubbed off on Day.
“Play the Arsenal way,” is a catch phrase, and that means quick, attacking soccer. Players are encouraged to pass and move, and to put pressure on defences with talent. They are taught a brand of soccer that is easy to love, both for players and fans, he said.
“Be brave on the ball,” players are told, “try to make things happen.”
He said that was a contrast to traditional Greek soccer, which is at a slower pace, lower pressure, and designed to allow players to finish games in searing Mediterranean heat. When he first tried to get his players to perform with the intensity of English players in 40 C heat, “the guys looked at me like I was mad,” he said.
But eventually he saw players taking strides in their game.
Day said it is never a problem to get B.C. players to understand intensity and hard work.
“The one thing you always get with Canadian players is the work rate – they’ll run through the proverbial brick wall.”
He said the local club may one day need to define a system of play that is taught uniformly by every coach at every level.
“The top clubs across the world all have a style they play, and a philosophy. And they all believe their way is the right way.”
As he starts his job in with the WCAGFC, what he teaches will be more generic, such as ensuring that players in practice get numerous touches on the ball.
But Day is ambitious, and so is the club’s leadership.
“Within five to 10 years, we can be the No. 1 club in the Lower Mainland,” he said.
“Adam is a fantastic addition to our staff. One of our goals was to provide the entire community with professional leadership that was capable of making the WCAGFC a premier soccer provider,” said club president Chris Begg. “Providing all club coaches with a program that will advance their own technical training will ultimately provide a direct benefit to all of our playing members. Our coaches will have even more tools to help each player to develop to their maximum potential.”