Coaches' Insight | WU17 Head Coach James Scott

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Coaches' Insight | WU17 Head Coach James Scott

Helping shape players into better people, winning an All-Ireland at his local club in Tipperary and being 'wowed' by the 2011 Champions League winning Barcelona side. Republic of Ireland Women's Under-17 Head Coach James Scott gives his insight into coaching.
1st May 2020

Name: James Scott
Role: Republic of Ireland Women’s Under-17 Head Coach
Began current role: 2019

Coaching history
Hibernia Cup Team Coach
National Academy U14 Head Coach
Republic of Ireland U16 Assistant Coach
Republic of Ireland ‘Futures’ team Head Coach

What is the one key attribute you need as a coach?
People skills. You need to know how to deal with people and how to deal with players and getting them on your side. It’s about being the coach you would have loved to have had when you were a young player.

When you’re dealing with parents and you’re dealing with schools and clubs your people skills are so important. You can have all the knowledge you want but if you can’t make the connection then it’s not going to work. 

What is your favourite thing about the job?
Seeing people develop as players and as people. You may see their understanding of the game develop but also when you see them pick up good habits off the pitch such as their manners, behaviour, courtesy and respect – it’s massive. It’s not something that will stay with them just for the under-17s year it’s about preparing something that will stay with them for life.

Any pre-match rituals?
One thing we do is that the Assistant Coach Irene Hehir will always have the last word before we go out on the pitch. She’s excellent at motivational talks and it always goes down well with the players. For myself, when the national anthem is being played I always close my eyes for the last few seconds and just think about how thankful I am to be in the position I am in.

What one message would you give to a player to keep with them throughout their career? 

Work hard and stay humble. It’s a really good saying and if you look at the top players they will always go back to hard work when things aren’t going their way. When you go into the professional game you have a lot of good things coming your way so it’s important to stay humble too.

Which coach/manager – from any sport – have you taken your greatest inspiration from?
ETP National Co-Ordinator Niall Harrison. He’s been a massive figure for me from the start. He’s been very good to me - even before I was with the FAI - he’s given me great advice and given me different roles.  Obvious there’s Pep Guardiola, Marcelo Bielsa and John Wooden in basketball but Niall is someone I always refer back to.

Favourite match you coached and why?
It wasn’t such I was head coach but I was involved in the coaching staff when we won an All-Ireland in 2011 with North Tipperary.

We were seen as one of the weakest leagues in the country but we played Waterford and beat them 2-1.

It was played at my local club Two-Mile-Borris St Kevin’s so that made it extra special as there was family and friends there to see it. It was unbelievable for such a small league to win an All-Ireland.

What team or match from any era do you wish you could have coached?
It would have to be Guardiola’s Barcelona’s team and in particular the Champions League Final in 2011 against Manchester United. 

I’m a United fan and I was at the game but even I could recognise just how good that side was. It was unbelievable to witness and you went away thinking ‘wow’. It was Messi, Xavi and Iniesta all at their peak.

From an Ireland perspective I would have loved to have been involved in Noel King’s Women’s Under-17 run to the European Championships Final - It would be amazing to take a team of mine to a major tournament.