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Liverpool FC America Sends 7 Top Coaches to Liverpool Football Club Academy

04/08/2015, 9:15pm EDT
By Nancy Lane

This week, Liverpool FC America has sent seven of our top coaches to the Liverpool Football Club Academy for emersion into the training methods and philosophy behind Liverpool’s world famous Academy program.  The seven carefully chosen coaches, Jimmy Melia, Armando Pelaez, Tony Merola, Ally Morrell, Dru Wright, Nick Soutar and Blas Guerra will have the opportunity to observe full training sessions and games as well as participate in classroom sessions with current academy coaches.    This is an extraordinary opportunity for any coach, since The Academy is closed to the public at all times.

This trip/experience/opportunity for our coaches highlights the strength of the club’s relationship with Liverpool Football Club and exemplifies the support and connectivity between LFC and LFCA.  Through this experience, the LFCA coaches bring back the philosophies, knowledge and understanding of the academy training system to other coaches, players and families here in the United States. 

Coaches in Liverpool will be writing and sending their daily journal entries and pictures to us so that we can follow their experiences in and around Liverpool, England and within the Liverpool Football Club.

Day One Blog

After a long day of traveling and a 4 hour delay at JFK airport the Coaches arrived in Liverpool eager to meet the liaisons at the Liverpool FC Headquarters on Chapel Street. The hospitality shown to us by Alan Moogan, Anthony, and the entire International Academy staff was fantastic. Alan and Anthony presented us with our plans for the week and an update on the Liverpool International Football Academy on a global scale. Of course our very own Mr. Jimmy Melia was recognized wherever we went and was asked for his autograph on many occasions.

After the introductory meeting Alan and Anthony took us to the Deva Stadium in Chester to observe the Liverpool Under 21 team play the Fulham Under 21 team. We enjoyed the high paced game and had great conversation with each other regarding the awesome standard of play. A great first day, tomorrow we go to the Academy in Kirkby and observe the younger age groups train. Stay tuned!

Day Two Blog

Today was our first full day in Liverpool and we spent all of it at The Liverpool Football Club Academy in Kirkby. Alan Moogan gave us a tour of the facilities which is one of the best facilities in the world. After the tour we went out to observe the under 9 team practice, with the coach giving us a pre and post session review which was invaluable to our understanding of the Liverpool way. The same reviews took place when observing the under 14 practice session in the afternoon. Due to the players being on Easter vacation there is no school, this allows the academy to have the players more during the day and play other academies. Liverpool under 11s hosted Blackburn, Stoke and Newcastle U11 teams in a round robin tournament which we got to observe very closely. The speed of play and style of play was great to see. We finished the day by gathering around a television and watching the Liverpool first team beat Blackburn to advance to the FA Cup semifinal. All the coaches felt they gained an immense amount of knowledge today and are now eagerly anticipating what tomorrow will bring.

Day Three Blog

It has been stated that we as Liverpool official partners have unprecedented access to the English academy that is unmatched; there is not a more accurate statement for today's experience. In the morning we got to roll our sleeves up and help coach in the Liverpool International soccer camp which included players from Sweden, Norway and Australia. After lunch we had indescribable inside look at The Liverpool Way with Head of Academy Football Relations Nick Marshall. Nick gave us an intensive presentation on the philosophy behind the academy practices and crucial information on how to develop talented youth players to reach their top potential. This seminar was invaluable as far as information we can bring back to America to impact all of our players.

Day Four Blog

Day 4 of our educational trip of a life time was spent more focused on the Liverpool Football Club first team. Our morning was spent at Melwood, the first team training ground that our very own Jimmy Melia trained at years ago. Jimmy even told us that he helped put the flood lights in when he was playing there. After meeting some of the players we observed the team perform a light training session coached by Brendon Rogers. This experience was great for our guys and we took a lot away from the session. 

After Melwood we went and had lunch at the Bob Paisley Lounge in Anfield, followed by watching next season’s uniform be revealed by New Balance. The reveal took place on the Anfield turf. The day was one that none of us will forget, meeting and watching the first team followed by sitting in the famous red seats at Anfield. We look forward to what fantastic educational opportunities will come tomorrow!

Day Five Blog

Day 5 was a day that allowed us to fully grasp what it means to be a part of Liverpool Football Club. We got a tour of Anfield, the stadium where Liverpool play and have done for many years. We got to go into the changing rooms, out the tunnel and sit in the famous Kop. This really allowed us to feel the importance of the history and culture of our marvelous club, such pride and passion everywhere in the stadium. It truly was a great experience that gave us even more pride in what we do and who we do it for out it was also very humbling to represent such a historical club that means so much to so many.

Day Six Blog

We spent the day at the Liverpool Academy in Kirkby. Three games were being played in typical English conditions, wet and windy. Liverpool under 9s and under 11s played against Crew Alexander, Liverpool under 15s were playing against Shrewsbury town. We were allowed to stand right behind the coaches to hear the instruction during the game as well as the pre-game, half time and post-game team talks. Our coaches soaked in all we could taking notes and discussing the games, formations, style of play and management of the players. A great learning experience for us and one that we really gained a lot of information from  

 In the afternoon we had a seminar with Michael Yates, head of the Foundation Phase (which is the U6-U9 age groups). Michael gave us a presentation in the philosophies and training techniques used on these age groups and also explained how they get the players ready to be passed on to the older age groups. This was an outstanding insight on to training talented players on these age groups. Our Academy managers, Tony Merola and Dru Wright were especially enthusiastic about bringing the information back to the states and using it to continually improve our ever growing academy. A great day for us and looking forward to day 7. 

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