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Gary Ireland: Director of Coaching and Operations

JOIN 'THE TECHNICIAN' GARY IRELAND'S PERSONAL BLOG ON YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

 

Gary supports his hometown club Liverpool F.C and has been a fan of Barcelona since 1972 when his family would take trips to Barcelona. He is a big admirer of Zidane, Platini and currnetly enjoys watching Barcelona, Iniesta, Xavi and respects Messi's humble genius in appreciating and respecting his teammates.

A HISTORY OF SUCCESS

Gary has not only coached and trained many of the players listed below on a daily basis but was instrumental in helping them with the college recruiting process spending extensive time with the players and families as well as college coaches refining the search and mentoring the players through the entire process. 

  • 40+ Players to NCAA D1 & D3 Schools
  • 6 World Cup & Olympic Players
  • 12 National Youth Team Players
  • 20 Regional ODP Players
  • 30 State PDP/ODP Players
  • 500+ High School Varsity Players

Email: director@psvunion.org 

Born in Liverpool, England, an Australian citizen and a permanent resident of the USA, world renowned technical football trainer Gary Ireland has been a resident, coach business owner and investor in the San Francisco Bay/Silicon Valley area for over 20 years. Gary holds an Football Industries MBA from the University of Liverpool and holds an “A” license coaching certificate from the Czech Republic Football Association and has conducted numerous camps and clinics throughout the word on behalf of clubs, leagues and federations.

Gary moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1990 from Australia after receiving an invitation to establish Academy Soccer, a premier soccer camp and tour company, which became the largest soccer camp organization in Northern California. At that time he was a technical demonstrator for the Nike Vogelsinger Soccer Academy (where he later retuned to become the main technical demonstrator). Gary settled in Silicon Valley with his family where he heldped bring a 1994 World Cup venue to the area along with Chevron, becoming the first sponsor of the 1994 SF Bay area Local Organizing Committee to bring the event to Palo Alto. In addition to establishing PSV Union FC, Gary also was a co-founder of World Soccer Inc, a premier soccer travel, product and camp company which operated some of the largest camp organizations in Northern California and has led tours for coaches youth and college teams to Asia, Europe and Australia and hosted overseas teams and groups from Czech Republic and Japan.

Gary also specializes in web 2.0/social media while maintaining his extensive global football through his consulting group “Ireland Group”. Gary is a co-founder of soccer social media site  www.pass2me.com and has several advisory roles in football organizations and technology companies. A renowned technical football coach and trainer, Gary Ireland has been a founder, promoter, coach, business owner mentor, advisor and investor in the San Francisco Bay/Silicon Valley area for over 20 years. He has advisory roles in football organizations and technology companies through his global soccer consulting company, Ireland Group, and in 2011 launched www.pass2me.com, a social networking site with features designed specifically for the global soccer community connecting the soccer ecosystem including players and college coaches. Gary is recognized by 'Advance', the global business network spanning 40 countries with one million Australians abroad, as being one of the ‘Advance 50’ current and emerging leaders honored at the Silicon Valley Summit in May 2012 for their contributions to the commercialization of Australian innovation dedicated to assisting Australian innovators, entrepreneurs and start-ups to commercialize and globalize.  

Before moving to the U.S.A Gary was best known as a personal assistant to the legendary Dutch coach Wiel Coerver and spent a season with Liverpool F.C coaching at the Liverpool FC Youth Academy.  He is renowned for his ability to demonstrate the most complex technical exercises at a world-class level providing the best possible visual motivation for any young player who wishes to enhance their game at the highest technical levels. Gary was hired to demonstrate and team youth players in Dubai and the United States as a personal assistant to world renowned coaches Wiel Coerver and Hubert Vogelsinger who helped inspire Gary to created a unique curriculum designed to develop creative, entertaining and effective football players. 

Formation of PSV Union

in 2005 Gary co-founded ‘PSV Union Football Club with his wife Carine and brother Simon. His father Victor also coaches at the club. PSV Union FC is now considered one of the leading soccer clubs in Northern California. Gary is the Director of Coaching & Operations and sits on Executive board is one of only a handful of individuals in the USA that not only runs the administrative side of the club but also is fully responsible for all technical on-field activities ensuring the philosophy of long term development of players and coaches is maintained in order to develop technically, physically and tactically intelligent youth football players with exemplary training habits which correspond with their academic interests and abilities.

Gary has helped grow the club to become one of most prominent in Northern California and is considered to be one of the finest developers of youth talent in the U.S.A, guiding and mentoring players on a daily basis to the USA and Mexican National youth and senior teams among other national programs as well as developing high level, NCAA college level talent. At PSV Union Gary coaches several teams and all 150 players in the club.  He is responsible for recruiting and staffing, coordinating coaching assignments, facility usage and maintenance and game schedules & team rosters as well as providing a specific long and short-term coaching philosophy curriculum for all players and teams for over 2,500 team practices and 500 games per year. Off the field Gary is heavily involved with club management providing administrative assistance, website management and content, management and marketing, facility maintenance and ensures all State and Federal requirements are met. 


GARYS COACHING PHILOSOPHY

CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT GARY'S PHILOSOPHY

Gary currently demonstrates 20+ hours of material each week and has conducted over 10,000 practice sessions.

He believes:

  • that coaches must possess the ability to transmit a passion for the game to the players they coach. that coaches must demonstrate coaching material with world class quality at the intensity and speed required for every player, regardless of level, thereby providing the players under his tutelage a visual learning example of the material being taught.
  • that players (even professionals) are visual and physical learners and therefore equire physical examples of what is expected of them. Coaches should be considered ‘teachers’ and believes in ‘strong visuals’ in the form of competent physical demonstration by the coach providing a clear picture of what the student/player needs to see/immitate in order to replicate the movement.
  • in a conviction of a philosophy and style of play, inspired by some of the worlds finest players and teams and reinforced by Wiel Coerver (note- from Wiel Coever personally- not the Coerver Method), Guardiola, Cruyff and others. Teams should play collectively with interchanging players and positions and at any time a player or cluster of players can create a solution or exploit opportunities.  
  • that players are not provided enough technical coaching and training in order to lay the foundation for advanced levels of play. more emphasis on long term development is needed. 
  • that too often coaches focus too heavily on the physical and tactical to seek winning results at youth levels, effectively shortcutting development. 
  • that a strong technical basis and tactical understanding of the game based on continuous development of technique and technical implementation is the key to becoming a creative and effective football player. 
  • in teaching players how to self-train/homework thereby not depending on the coach to provide every solution to player development. 
  • too many coaches, clubs and federation licensing organizations focus on team development rather than improving player development. The better the individual level of each player in any team, the more tactical options a team will have. 
  • too many players are ill equipped technically to play at the highest levels and have been fast tracked due to their physical and tactical ability, only to be exposed at the elite levels. 
  • players and ultimately teams succeed when players are required to respond independently to obstacles on the field and have the opportunity to exercise the technical skills they have been taught in practice and develop on their own.  
  • believes players should be encouraged to embrace pressure, not shying or playing away from pressure, will require them to find solutions on the field. eg. Short-corners, short goals kicks, free kicks, quick re-start and playing from the back as well as requiring players to play under extreme pressure in numbers down situations are examples of the stresses he places the players under.  
  • when a player is placed under repeated stress/pressure does the player/s find a solution and develop the requisite personality traits to embrace rather than fear pressure. "Teaching players why they fail' and "Learning how to overcome failure" is deeply entrenched the training methodology. 
  • that players must develop and fine tune the technical interfaces: receiving, dribbling and passing of the ball comprised of thousands of exercises of specifically choreographed techniques over a minimum 3-year period and up to 10 years.e.g fluidity, coordination, flexibility, dexterity, balance, change and shift of balance, acceleration, deceleration, re-acceleration, rhythm, equilibrium, poise, stance and physical orientation both on and off the ball is critical to developing creative players and are all underlying themes of his training and applied rigorously. 

He does not believe: 

  • in applying PERMANENT fixed systems and formations of play for youth football players
  • that success of a youth coach is determined by the winning record but by measured by the ability and success of the players and teams who succeed in playing attractive football to both play and to watch. 
  • that youth coaches, parents and players should focus only on the match result but instead focus on the results of the challenges presented to the players in games: quality of build up play and possession; quality of individual movement on the ball and risk taking; pressing and playing with a high line- all of which come with risks.

"I once witnessed a national youth team coach have his GK to punt the ball over the half way line every single occasion on an 8 v 8 size field- no build up necessary, no risks in their own half- The same coach claims to admire Barcelona and technical football and is an advocate of small sided play such as Futsal. This is an example of a coaches beliefs not matching his conviction. He is more afraid of losing! The temptation of putting your winning record before the players development is something every coach needs to consider to the extent they have control over this".

 


GARY HAS HOSTED THESE INDIVIDUALS AT PSV UNION

* Tommy Sermanni- Former USA & Australia Womens National Team coach and current Canadian Womens National Team asst. coach

* Liverpool FC Academy Manager John Owens (lecture and on field demonstration)

* Fiorentina FC (identification for NorCal PDP. 4 California State Pool teams)

PSV  Eindhoven & FC Porto’s technical coach Pepijn Linders (on behalf of NorCal Premier League) 

* Ajax Amsterdam Academy Academy Director Jan Olde Riekerink (For NorCal Premier 100+ coaches in Nth. California. Field sessions and classroom)

NorCal Premier State Player Development Program (for 100 U12-U14 Girls & Boys)

NorCal State PDP (for Id2 selection for 4 State Team age groups) 

* US Soccer Federation Womens National team U15-17 identification playdate. (2011) 

* US Soccer Federation Boys National team Training Centers U12-13 identification playdate. (2013) 

Hugo Perez  (USA former World Cup player. USA U15 National Team coach and USA U20 asst.coach)

Christopher Sullivan (USA Mens World Cup player & Fox Soccer presenter)

Simon Ireland (renowned professional player & former personal assistant to Wiel Coerver)                 

Julie Foudy (former USA Womens national team. Visited training sessions and appeared as speaker at Stanford University)

Lorrie Fair (former UNC & USA womens national team)

Veronica Perez (former UW & current Mexico womens national team)

Anson Dorrance (21 Time NCAA Champion, World Cup Champion, UNC staff and players clinic)

Chris Ducar- (Assistant coach UNC Women’s Team) 

 *Abner Rogers- (former WPS Champion & current Laguna Hills Eclipse Technical Director)

USC, USF, St Mary’s Chicago head coaches.

Others include.

Pele (chose Gary to film his 1994 Studio Pele segment prior to USA v Brazil)

* England World Cup Captain Bobby Moore (brought Bobby Moore to award Man Of Match award for USA v Russia match. Spent 1 week as personal assistant)

Zdenek Sivek, UEFT ,UEFA and Technical Director of the Czech Football FA 

* John Owens. Technical Auditor of Youth Academies for English Premier League (Footpass)


OTHER ACTIVITIES

Operated the largest Residential and Day summer soccer camps in Northern California. Responsibilities included day to day camp operations, hiring and management of coaching staff, negotiating facility lease agreement, purchasing equipment, advertising sales. Designed and produced a series of 30 second Public Service Television and Radio announcements (PSA's) for CBS & NBC affiliates. Hosted World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore to present the Man of the Match award for the USA vs Russia game in 1992. Personal liaison for Bobby Moore for 1 week. Coordinated half time show and 100 ball-persons for the event.

Matched Chevron USA Inc. sponsorship as the first organization to bring the 1994 World Cup to the Bay Area by sponsoring the 1994 World Cup Bay Area bid committee. Partner Brad Blackman (of Wolfgang Puck fame) subsequently became head of World Cup 1994 Bay Area Host Committee. Gary is also currently Founder & Owner of the 'Ireland Group', an investment group specializing in sports social media. Gary holds a graduate degree in Business (MBA) in 'Football Industries' from the from the University of Liverpool, completing the course while he coached at the Liverpool FC Academy, working alongside Academy Director and Manager John Owens. He also possesses an "A" coaching license from the Czech Republic FA

CHARITY WORK

Between 2007 & 2009 was National Soccer Advisor for ‘Right to Play’ USA serving on its Strategic Advisory Committee. Coordinated the Right to Play charity partnership for the 2007 Chelsea FC vs Club America match at Stanford Stadium including: designing and supplying the first of a kind Right to Play banner and supplying pre-game mascots; Chelsea FC and Club America players pre-game soccer ball giveaways; half time PSA; VIP hospitality for Right to Play VIP guests. Arranged “Right to Play’ coaching clinic at UCLA for global charity partner Chelsea FC attended by Michael Essien and Malouda. Arranged all VIP seating for Right to Play Ambassadors for the Chelsea FC vs. Los Angeles Galaxy match in 2007. Arranged for Northern California youth soccer club 'Union FC' to become the only youth soccer club in the USA to officially support Right to Play and raise $25,000 on its behalf through its online fundraising drive. Created the first and only partnership between Northern California Youth Soccer League 'NorCal Premier Soccer League' and Right to Play

 


COACHING BACKGROUND

* Coached 35 club players from California & staff to Prague, Vienna & Budapest vs.Blsany, Slavia Prague, Admira Wacker & MTK Budapest youth 

 

* Coached 3 youth teams from PSV Union on England tour vs.Liverpool, Chelsea, Blackburn. sightseeing & training & visit to Liverpool FC Academy.

 

* Director of Coaching at USA camp for professional coaches from Olympique Lyonnais, Wimbledon FC, Liverpool FC, Sparta Prague, Spartak Moscow, Celtic, Corinthians Sao Paolo, MTK Budapest.Commended by FIFA for efforts on behalf of youth soccer

 

* Hosted ‘Pele’ during World Cup 1994 for youth coaching clinic & content for 'Studio Pele' TV show.

 

* Head coach for 50+ Japanese youth players to attend a soccer camp & English language lessons in the USA during the 1994 World Cup. Promoted & partnered with J- League team Hiroshima San Frecce & endorsed by FIFA.

 

* Holder of Czech Football Association ‘A’ Coaching License since 1992

 

* Trained some of the best talents in U.S men’s and women’s soccer since 1989- Seniro and Youth National teams, professional & semi-pro, top Division I universities, Player Development Program (PDP/id2) Olympic Development (ODP) Programs and elite club teams.

 

* Coached with NorCal Premier Region 2 Player Development Program. Promoted, managed and head coach for various state and district tryout events. 2008. Identified and selected /recommended players to State and Regional tryouts.

 

Head Coach World Soccer Inc. Coached 100-200 players per week and managed 15 staff over 10 years. 

 

* Coached at Liverpool F.C as the only foreign coach at "The Academy' 2003.

 

* Former personal coaching assistant to Wiel Coerver in Dubai in (not involved with the ‘Coerver Method’)

 

* Introduced ‘Coerver Method’ to Australia & New Zealand; 1989 presented first ever lecture/talk on behalf of the New South Wales Soccer Federation (guest of David Lee DOC) for 50 coaches & administrative officials

 

* Provided a 1-day clinic for the New Zealand Football Federation, Christchurch 1989 (50 players and 50 coaches) as guest of NZFA Technical Director Terry Conley on Wiel Coerver Coaching. 

 

* Head technical demonstrator at Nike/Hubert Vogelsinger in the USA at the Santa Barbara Academies in 1990 & 2004

 

* Technical Observer and assistant to the Technical Director or the Czech F.A Dr Zdenek Sivek (UEFA) during European Championships in 1996- Czech Republic National Team narrowly lost to Germany 2:1 in EURO 96 Final at ‘Wembley Stadium’

 

* Guest coach of Peter Horvath at MTK Budapest U12 team in Hungary 2005.

 

* Guest clinician at Palm Beach Soccer Club, Gold Coast, Australia. Men’s professional team, Queensland State League. 2002

 

Visiting Technical coach University of Wisconsin Men’s team under Jim Launder. NCAA D1. 1990

 

* Technical trainer San Jose State Men’s College team- NCAA Division 1. 1996 & 1998

 

* Assistant coach of Union FC WPSL team 2005. Finalist Las Vegas ‘Silver Mug’ Tournament.

 

* Commissioned by NorCal PDP to demonstrate a 2 hours coaching session for Technical Director of Fiorentina in 2008 for State Select players.

 

* Hosted, Managed and Coached PDP State Tryouts in Palo Alto for over 120 players and 10 staff

 

* Assisted NoCal PDP with promoting FC Porto Technical coach Pepijn Linders in Palo Alto, Danville and San Francisco, December 2008.

 

* Assisted Liverpool FC U18 coach John Owens at the NorCal Premier Boys (PDP) U13-15 tryouts. University of San Francisco - Feb. 2008

 

* 2012 Guest Clinician with EPL Academy Technical Auditor John Owens for Laguna Hills Eclipe for Coaches Education event on behalf of Abner Rogers. 

PLAYING BACKGROUND

Gary has played and trained with the following professional and semi-professional teams: FC Barcelona, Chelsea FC, Arsenal FC, Sparta Prague, Christchurch United, Brisbane Lions, St George Budapest (Australia), Glasgow Rangers, Dunfermline Athletic (Scotland), Walton & Hersham (London), Kingstonian (London), San Jose Oaks, Mt Gravatt (Australia) and represented the Gold Coast and Queensland State team at the senior level.

MBA Football Industries. University of Liverpool

Gary wrote his dissertation on: 'Creating and Exploiting Revenue Streams at Liverpool FC, Inter Milan and Chicago Fire'. Football Industry MBA graduates operate in all aspects of the game in over 40 countries and  hold position with (amongst others): UEFA, FIFA Marketing, the English F.A, the Scottish F.A, the Football League, the Football Association of Wales, Irish Football Association,  the Chinese Football Association, Latvian Football Association, Korean Football Association, Japan Football Association, Swiss Football Association, Football Association of Norway, the Professional Footballers Association; several clubs in Britain (including Arsenal, Everton, Leeds United, Celtic, Rangers, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United. Fulham, Chelsea, Preston NE, Sheffield United; clubs and leagues in India, Russia, France, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Chile, Australia, Norway, Sweden and Turkey; the Norwegian Ministry of Sport; media and marketing companies such as IMG, Sport5, ESPN-Brazil, Octagon, Traffic, UFA, Zone Marketing, SportFive, Pass2me.com, and The Financial Times; and Deloittes in Britain and Brazil. Graduates have also founded and operated "Leaders in Football' and "Soccerex".



MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE

  • Manager & Head Coach for 35 players and staff to Prague, Vienna and Budapest vs.Blsany, Slavia Prague, Admira Wacker & MTK Budapest youth boys teams.
  • Managed NCAA Champions University of North Carolina women’s team tour in ints entirety to Australia & New Zealand. Organised all flights, accommodations, meals, sightseeing & internal transportation, including opposition & training vs Australian & New Zealand National Teams
  • Manager & Head Coach England for 3 USA youth club teams; vs. Liverpool, Chelsea, Blackburn. sightseeing & training & visit to Liverpool FC Academy.
  • Managed professional coaches from Olympique Lyonnais, Wimbledon FC, Liverpool FC, Sparta Prague, Spartak Moscow, Celtic, Corinthians Sao Paolo, MTK Budapest
  • Managed 2-team professional tour of California for President of Czech Football Association & UEFA Vice President- owner of 1st Division Chmel Blsany
  • Provided coaches and coaching program for Nestle Nilo sponsored camp in Indonesia 1996. 80,000 entrants competed for 50 camps spaces run my World Soccer staff, operated by Gary Ireland
  • Raised $12k for travel expenses from Molsons/Fosters for San Jose Oaks to play in US Open Cup Final (Champions) in Indianapollis 1992. 
  • Conceptualized and managed collaborative project with the Japanese Travel Bureau (JTB) & FIFA for 50+ Japanese youth players to attened a soccer camp, take english language lessons, sightseeing in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1994 World Cup. Promoted and partnered with J- League team Hiroshima San Frecce end endorsed by FIFA.
  • Head Coach World Soccer Inc. Coached 100-200 players per week and managed 15 staff annually over 8 year period in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1992-2002. 
  • Guest coach at MTK Budapest U12 team in Hungary 2005. 
  • Technical trainer San Jose Men’s College team-NCAA Division 1. 1996 & 1998
  • Manager of Union FC Womens Professional Soccer League team 2005. Finalist Las Vegas ‘Silver Mug’ National women's tournament. Arranged all travel expenses for international playing staff as well as funded enture travel budget for 18 players, 4 staff. 
  • Managed and Coached PDP State Tryouts in Palo Alto for over 120 players and 10 staff.

Gary Ireland (17 years) playing for Gold Coast United Mens Representative Team vs National League Side Brisbane City 1987


Gary Ireland (above) on the field at Anfield with his Liverpool FC U10 boys team & sitting next to John Owens & Academy staff at Anfield 2003