Sports

Jordan relishes his Arsenal Arabian adventure

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Jordan relishes his Arsenal Arabian adventure thumbnailArmagh native Jordan Stephens landed a dream job with Arsenal FC coaching in their Soccer Schools programme.

A FORMER Markethill Swifts players has landed a dream job working with Arsenal Football Club as a coach for their Arsenal Soccer Schools programme in the Persian Gulf.

Jordan Stephens, who is an ex-pupil of City of Armagh High School moved to Bahrain on January 3 to take up a six month contract working with youth players in the country.

Stephens said the opportunity came about after he saw an advertisement looking for coaches for the programme and shortly after conducting a Skype interview, he was offered the job in the Gulf.

“Last March I travelled to America to work for the UK International Soccer group and in total I spent eight months coaching in the USA.

“During my last month in America I began looking at my next coaching adventure and I came across the chance to apply for the Arsenal Soccer Schools programme in Bahrain.

“I had a Skype interview with the Head Coach and one week later they got in touch to tell me I had got the job!"

Football has always been Jordan's main passions and he admitted that as soon as he realised that his dreams of becoming a professional footballer weren't going to come true, he turned to coaching and admitted he loved challenging himself and helping players achieve the best they can.

“I started coaching with Markethill Swifts at their summer camps and youth coaching and over the last few years I have obtained my FA Level 2 certificate, my Disabled Football Certificate and my Futsal Coaching certificate while I was studying and living in Southampton.

“After that I moved over to America last March and spent just under a year there.

“I spent most of time in Orange County in California and while I was there I was approached and offered a job coaching a High School football team, but unfortunately my visa wouldn't allow me to do it.

“I also spent two months in Alaska and that was an incredible experience.

“They only play football in the summer months there and it never got dark the whole time I was there and that was something that took a lot of time getting used to!"

Stephens admitted that improving the standard of football in Bahrain is of utmost importance to the government and those in charge at the Bahrain Football Association.

“It is a very modern country, despite being effectively in the middle of a desert.

“In terms of the football scene, there is huge interest in the sport, especially in the English Premier League.

“The local government has pumped a large amount of money into the local league and they are trying to get a competitive professional league up and running.

“The country is constantly growing and there is construction going on everywhere and of course the weather is lot better than Armagh, which is always a big bonus.

“I am contracted here with Arsenal until June 20 and I am coaching a variety of different age groups within the programme at the moment.

“My main focus is on the U10 age group and I have been placed as the main coach for that age group and I will soon be selecting a team to take to a tournament in Kuwait and then another competition in Dubai at the end of February.

“I'm very excited about the opportunity to take the team to Dubai, as it's somewhere I've wanted to visit for years and hopefully we can return to Bahrain as champions to top it off."

The ambitious Stephen said that his long term goal is to coach professionally some day and move through his coaching badges.

“My long term goal is to keep progressing with my coaching qualifications and get my UEFA B License within the next two years.

“Hopefully then after that I would like to be able to coach professionally some day.

“I think travelling and coaching to all these different countries can help me to gain as much experience as possible.

“I firmly believe as a coach that you never stop learning and I want to keep travelling to different countries through coaching and learn about football and the different cultures in each country."

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