What do you think the path to professional sports looks like? 22 year veteran coach at Manchester United, Tom Statham, shares what he has seen and experienced as the path over the last few decades. Spoiler alert…there is no defined path. Listen in for Tom’s explanation.


This is what Manchester United Academy has to say about Tom.

“Tom has been coaching at Manchester United since 1994. He has coached boys from 7-18 years old and has worked with and learnt from great coaches such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Brian Kidd, Eric Harrison, Paul McGuiness, Tony Whelan and René Meulensteen.

After achieving a degree in PE and Sports Science at Loughborough University, Tom began a professional career in football playing for Middlesbrough, Doncaster Rovers and Lincoln City.

At the end of his professional playing career, Tom was approached by Manchester United and offered a position coaching the young players at the club. In over 23 years at Manchester United, Tom has seen the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Jonny Evans, Danny Welbeck, Michael Keane, Tom Cleverly, Danny Simpson, Danny Drinkwater and many others progress to become top professional players.

The Football Association recognized Tom’s work with young players when he received the award for Foundation Phase Academy Coach of the Year 2015.

In terms of football player development, Tom has great knowledge, experience and an excellent reputation. Aligned to that, he is a kind, caring, reliable and extremely trustworthy human being who loves his football and has a mission to ensure that young players develop a love and passion for football that has sustained him all these years. 23 years service in the Academy at Manchester United is a remarkable achievement.

I first met Tom in 1994 when he joined what was then the Centre of Excellence at Manchester United as a part-time coach. Since this time he has made an immense contribution to player development at the club with his football knowledge, experience, work ethic, energy, loyalty and enthusiasm for working with young people. In over 20 years working at the club, Tom has gained a deep awareness of the history, values and culture of this great institution which he embodies in everything he does when coaching young players.

Over the years, Tom has helped our youth department to expand and grow in a range of areas including: syllabus and curriculum development, coach education, pastoral care and parent liaison. He was also hugely instrumental in assisting me to drive what has since become a hugely influential project/initiative – our 4 V 4 U9 project in the summer of 2002. His advice, guidance and valued wisdom has seen it become an integral part of the technical development program in the Academy. What a wonderful legacy for any coach to pass on to the next generation!

In terms of player development, Tom has a CV par excellence. Aligned to that, is a kind, caring, reliable and extremely trustworthy human being who loves his football, cares about people, and has a mission to ensure that folk young and old develop the love and passion for soccer that has sustained him all these years. 22 years service in the youth department at any football club is a remarkable achievement – at Manchester United – well that really is the stuff of legends – I rest my case!

It has been my distinct privilege and honour to have worked closely with him all these years at this truly amazing football club.”

Tony Whelan – Head of Academy Coaching, Manchester United

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Show Notes

6:50 Tom’s professional career and start in coaching

13:05 Try not to coach when the ball is rolling

24:40 Learning to accept that each kid is different and we must coach the individuals

36:15 There are qualities that athletes MUST possess

47:00 Tom discusses the importance of play in a team warm-up

58:35 Football is the easy part of coaching…

Get in Touch

(Tom will be at the United Soccer Coaching 2018 Convention in Philadelphia. Contact him if you would like to meet him there and see his sessions.)

Website: http://www.specialistsoccertours.co.uk


Twitter: @TomS_Soccer (best way to contact Tom)

Email: [email protected]

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Tagged under: Coaching, sports development