Sports Editor, Charles Metcalfe, sat down with Pete Franklin, the new 2nd team assistant coach for Loughborough Men’s Football, to find out some more about the 2nd year Sports and Exercise Psychology student.
Where did you grow up, and how did that lead into football coaching at Loughborough Uni?
“I’m from Belfast as you can probably tell from my accent. I played National League football until I was about 16. I then started coaching and realised that I wasn’t going to have a route into the professional game as a player, coaching was the next best thing to go into.”
“Coming to Loughborough has been a revelation for my coaching, because back home in Belfast whenever I said to a careers adviser that I wanted to be a football coach, they said ‘here’s a phone number for sports management down at the tech’ to which I said ‘you’re not listening to me’. Over here they said ‘we’ll give you an opportunity to achieve what you want to, especially through the coaching and volunteering academy (CVA).’”
So CVA was a big part of your choice to come to Loughborough?
“It was the second biggest reason for me coming here. Everyone said to me, ‘If you’re going to be a sports coach go to Loughborough’, not to belittle other universities, this is just the best university in the world for sport. They (CVA) give you a phone call before you come, and I said I was interested in coaching, so they said that if you put in a certain number of hours we’ll contribute towards your badges. There is Level 1 and 2, B licence, A licence, and UEFA Pro Licence. At the moment I’m half way through my level 2, so obviously I’ve got that ahead of me. You get coaches my age who are just rushing the badges, and you get people asking ‘what badge are you’ but it’s pretty irrelevant most of the time, I’m better than some A licence coaches in my opinion, but there are level 1 coaches who are better than me. That’s one thing they don’t teach you, how to be a friendly and outgoing person.”
Being only 20 years old, do you think your young age affects your relationship with the team?
“The oldest player on our team is 23, and he’s ex-professional for QPR, so that’s been very good for working on my people skills, and I speak to a fresher on our team completely differently to how I speak to a 23 year old, still equally, just differently. That creates such an interesting dynamic. Being a young coach means that I’m in touch with all the players, I can understand where the players are coming from as opposed to the older coaches who might have forgotten the emotions of a younger player.”
“You’ve got to find that balance between being the coach, and being a mate. I’m friendly with them, I know any lad on the team could come to me with a problem. I’ve built up a good relationship with them, but at the same time I don’t want them to see me on a night out going completely mad, because what kind of example is that setting?”
From what you’ve seen so far, what is the outlook for the season ahead?
“It’s going to be a tough season, but that’s the thing about university football, it’s always great to win, but for them they just enjoy it. At pre-season they all turned up saying ‘we’re ready to go’, but as the league started and we lost a couple of games, the dynamic changed a little bit. With boys going up to the 1stteam it can be hard keeping that core group, and we have to be ready to adapt when boys go their own separate ways. Next week we’ve got Cambridge 1stteam away, they’re all pretty smart down there but they’ve probably got a few good footballers as well. I wouldn’t fancy taking them on at dentistry or something like that, but we’ll have a go at the football.”