Football/Soccer

Local soccer coach Gerry Goodall lands Quorum post in the north

Glenavy Youth FC academy coach Gerry Goodall has hooked up with Quorum Sports Advisors and will be on the look-out for the best young talent in the north

WELL-KNOWN football and academy coach Gerry Goodall has been appointed Quorum Sports Advisors’ talent scout for Northern Ireland.

The London-based sports intermediary firm, set up by Cork native Pat Deane eight years ago, is one of the leading lights in the industry.

Former English League stars Gordon Cowans and Imre Varadi are just two of Quorum’s better-known advisors whose mission statement is to “offer a unique unrivalled and personalised service” to its clients “ensuring the player can fully focus on football”.

Jordan Stewart (Linfield), Mark McKee (Stevenage), Kieran Sadlier (Cork City), Tyreke Wilson (Man City) and Dara O’Shea (Exeter) are among Quorum’s clients.

Since its inception, Quorum has nurtured a strong reputation for its pastoral care of its younger clients – and Goodall expressed his delight at hooking up with the group.

“I worked with Patrick Deane in the Financial Services in Dublin back in 1990 and we met up recently about me becoming involved in their operations here,” Goodall explained.

Quorum, who are recognised by the English FA, will become part of the global Football Agency Network (www.footballagencynetwork.com) that launches in October.

Goodall, an instantly recognisable face in local football, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the new scouting role, having enjoyed a long and successful career at Irish League and Amateur League level.

“Quorum are qualified intermediaries. They meet with the parents of kids and they give them advice and guidance in every aspect of their lives.

“It’s not a case of saying: ‘Okay, son, well done - there’s a contract, now go and buy yourself a new house.’

Quorum actually mentors the young players as well as offering them representation.

“The football is almost a by-product of it because most people can spot a talented footballer. Football talent is a given – but it’s the attitude: Do you want to train? Do you want to study? Do you want to learn? It’s not enough to be just a really good footballer.

“And then there is the whole realm of the pitfalls young players are faced with: alcohol and drugs. I’ve suffered at the hands of alcohol so I’m able to speak from experience.

“It’s very hard to listen to somebody who hasn’t played football, and obviously social media is such a big part of the young generation and the pitfalls and challenges that come with that. I’ve already found these areas to be one of Quorum’s biggest strengths.”

Goodall (59), a north Belfast native, played for Ards and Carrick Rangers before moving to Cromac Albion where he won a Steel & Sons Cup winner’s medal in 1978.

He also played at Larne for several years before dipping his toe into coaching with Cliftonville U14s.

He became manager of Amateur League club Malachians in the early 1990s and guided the north Belfast club to their first-ever Division 1A title. From there, he had spells with Islandmagee, Donegal Celtic and Crewe United.

Goodall is currently involved with Northern Ireland Invitational veterans’ football alongside the likes of long with ex-pros Marty Tabb, Seamus Heath and Terry Nicholson.

Now based in Glenavy, Goodall helped set up Glenavy Youth FC with his son-in-law Stephen Stewart in 2015 and within three years the academy’s numbers have soared to 150.

“The concept was started with five or six kids with my son-in-law,” Goodall said.

“That’s 150 kids around the Glenavy and Crumlin area. Where were they going? Now they’re getting coached from five, six and seven right up. But it’s the 14 and 15-year-olds – that gap – where do they go?

“We have a zero tolerance policy with parents. The kids are properly coached, they’re not sworn at and they all get game-time whether they’re good or not. It’s not all about winning.”

He added: “I know grassroots football - the Irish League, the Mid-Ulster League, the Amateur League – and if I don’t know something about a club or a player or a league I know somebody who does.

“I think this role is a natural extension in terms of my age and experience. Everybody is a coach nowadays. But having coaching badges is not managing people... And if you can help a couple of kids from any background whatsoever I’ll be delighted.

“If you get one kid that makes it then it gives other kids the inspiration to do the same. The point is, don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something; dare to dream. How many times have people said to kids: ‘You’re not good at that.’ Everybody has a worth. And I think that philosophy dovetails well with the aims and objectives of Quorum.”

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