Sunday, 2 October 2011

Coach recognised for 1,000 hours of volunteering

This morning he had been at Portsmouth College, training young 16-19 year olds from the local community. Last night the Hampshire Centre for Excellence, where he coaches a very talented under 17s girls side.

And just before he would leave to train the University 1st and 2nd teams, Pugwash News were delighted to catch a minute with Bruce Suraci, an aspiring football coach and student from the University of Portsmouth.

In June, Suraci collected an award from the center of Wembley stadium. He was one of only ten students selected by British Universities and College Sport (BUCS) and the Football Association (FA) to receive a national award celebrating commitment to the game and exceptional personal achievement. “It was nice to be at the stadium”, Suraci said modestly, “however, it wasn’t about the award, what was special for me was being recognised.”

He has accumulated over 1,000 hours of coaching in his free-time over the last three years. Put differently, it’s the equivalent of 25 weeks – or almost half a year – of full-time work.

Of all the teams Suraci coaches, he puts the University team as his favourite. “The University players are more mature and because they’re students with the mindset of going to lectures and learning, they seem to be a lot more receptive to coaching and bettering themselves. The University has a good learning culture.”

He speaks highly of his other projects too. The girls at the Hampshire Centre for Excellence are “excellent players, the best in the country”. The actual aim of the centre is to “push players on to England”.

Suraci fulfils his demanding coaching duties at the same time as studying for a degree in Sport and Exercise Science. There’s no magic to how he manages his busy lifestyle. “I make sure I don’t waste time. If I go out, I get up early the next day. I work as hard as I can and I learn relatively quickly.”

“The great sense of personal achievement that you have helped a player fulfil their potential”, is one of the reasons Suraci gives for his enjoyment of coaching. “I like to see people improve themselves, and to play an active part in their development as a coach and as a person. Coaching is sociable and outdoors, involves talking to people and trying to read people”.

He has a vision for how he will get the most out of his players, and what he hopes to achieve. “I like working to a plan. The University team have a year plan and I am able to see how the team progress throughout the season. We use a match analysis sheet and take details every month”.

Currently, Suraci is looking to get his UEFA A License, known in footballing terms as a coach’s ‘degree’. It takes two years to complete and is only obtainable by working with national football association.

Unsatisfied with stopping there, however, Suraci hopes to quickly move on to bigger and better standing. “Once I’ve got that”, he says casually of the A License, “I’m going to look to go out to America and work in universities out there, or get a fulltime job in a football academy here.”

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