Scott ready for next step up on coaching journey
It's pretty clear that James Scott has not taken anything for granted throughout his coaching career to date. From Two-Mile Borris / St Kevin's to the highest coaching qualification in Europe, he has come a long way.
He hasn't started the UEFA Pro Licence course just yet, with only an introductory call with his tutors completed, but these are exciting times for the Tipperary native.
In 2019, he was appointed as Head Coach of the Republic of Ireland Women's Under-17s and guided his team to victories over Albania, Lithuania and Greece to secure a spot in the Elite Round of qualifying for the European Championships. Those games were cancelled due to the outbreak of COVID-19 but dealing with set-backs is all part of the learning curve for Scott.
In fact, it was a rejection that kickstarted the latest push for the former Ireland Under-16 Boys assistant coach to set new targets for his coaching career.
"This was my second time applying for the Pro Licence. I took the feedback on-board and knew that I needed to make changes. Essentially, I needed to be working at the level required to use a Pro Licence so that would have been in the League of Ireland or with an international team," Scott told FAI.ie.
"I knew that I wanted to change my situation before applying again. So I was very grateful to get the opportunity to become Head Coach with the Ireland Women's Under-17s and once I had started working with that team I knew that I was in a better position to apply again."
Scott will become the latest international underage Head Coach to experience the Pro Licence following in the steps of Jason Donohoe (2015), Sue Ronan (2015), Paul Osam (2018), Colin O'Brien (2015), Andy Reid (2020), Dave Connell (2015), Tom Mohan (2015), and Jim Crawford (2018).
It is an experience that he is looking forward to, as he stated: "This course will give me the skills to improve in every area, not just as a coach.
"There is so much involved in the Pro Licence, from periodisation, analysis, working with the media, building relationships, improving human skills, managing up, handling budgets, through to how you work with elite players. It will increase my knowledge of every area."
Scott uses the term 'life-long learning' when quizzed on what he has taken from the coaching courses up to this point. It might sound like something that Tony Robbins would say, but he feels that it accurately reflects the knowledge and skills that he has acquired from Youth Cert up to A Licence level.
The 37-year-old talks about working in micro groups where his peers have regaled stories of their coaching triumphs and disasters, about the kind of intricate advice from tutors like Niall Harrison that have kept him awake at night, and about gaining the self-confidence to believe that he is good enough to coach at a higher level.
"I've gone all the way through the coaching pathway up to the Pro Licence and that is a big achievement," said Scott.
"It's why I thanked my local club because there is pride in reaching that next stage. I can still remember getting involved in the SPAR 5s, which was 6-a-side back then, and coaching with the South Tipp team in the Kennedy Cup. Those type of experiences helped me on this journey."
The Pro Licence may represent the summit in terms of qualifications, but Scott knows that his coaching education will continue for many years to come. He's just happy to be in a position to keep on learning.
The 2020/22 UEFA Pro Licence participants are:
Tim Clancy, Dan Connor, Carlo Cudicini, Kevin Doherty, Daire Doyle, Tom Elmes, Anthony Hayes, Ruairdhi Higgins, Denis Hyland, Graham Kelly, Andy Keogh, Ian Morris, Alan Murphy, John O’Shea, Sean O’Shea, Aidan Price, Matthew Ross, John Russell, Ian Ryan, James Scott