Director of Coaching - Mitch Doherty

Mitch, a native of Manchester, England has spent time playing or coaching in a diverse range of countries including, Germany, Holland, (former) Yugoslavia, Denmark, Australia, and most recently Oregon. ABYS education manager Tim Norman remarked, “Mitch certainly has the same ideas and philosophies we have, and as well as his coaching skills Mitch also brings his experience as a coach educator to the club. We are excited to be expanding our professional coaching staff and Mitch will be instrumental in bringing new programs to our members.” Mitch will work with ABYS Intramurtal town program players, travel players and all ABYS coaches. Above and beyond this, Mitch will work with the ABYS Board to implement a fresh set of initiatives and projects which will benefit all players.

As he is new to the area, Initially, Mitch will review the playing and coaching standards at the club, as well as in the BAYS league to look at what can be achieved short and long term for the players and teams of ABYS. “He wants to take it slow and observe things and go to games here in Acton and go to a couple games with the travel teams” said Norman. “To establish a base line from which to work”

“We won’t be changing things overnight, it’s about repetition, it’s about good structure,” Doherty said. “Development programs have to be age-appropriate and skill-appropriate. It takes some time to work through it.” Among other things, Mitch stresses the importance of small sided (SSG) soccer. It is a faster-paced version of the game that is played in a smaller area and in the right environment can help to accelerate technical (and tactical) development. “I was in Holland in 1988 and it was the first time I saw the small-sided games,” Doherty said. “I really liked what I saw ... it has a huge impact on kids and it’s the way to go, as long as it is fun, structured and challenging”

In 1999 Mitch moved to Australia where he was working with the Western Australia (WA) state program, highlights of his time there include two years coaching the state boys U14 and U15 squads, (2005 and 2006) and his appointment as team manager for the Australian U14 national representative team, who took part in the Asia Football Confederation (AFC) festival in Kula Lumpur, Malaysia. In 2006 Mitch was also appointed director of coaching for a West Australian soccer academy which became the sole representative in WA for the Manchester United FC Oceania talent-development program. “I still have contacts with Manchester United because I’ve been involved with them since I was about 4 years old,” Doherty said. “Through those contacts we were able to become the Western Australian Development Club.”

In May 2010, Mitch was invited to United’s prestigious academy in Carrington, Manchester to watch their training programs being delivered to the crème of elite youth soccer players by world class coaching staff. “Through all of these experiences I have learnt a great deal about the need for professionalism, patience, discipline and creating the right learning environments to match and test the skill levels of the players, but above all else the players, parents and coaches must have fun and enjoy themselves or the end product will be impacted. ABYS already has a lot of good structure in place and we need to continually review, analyze and plan together as a team to ensure we continue to improve and deliver the most comprehensive and valued soccer programs in Massachusetts”

In 2008 Mitch and his family moved to Oregon, USA where he has worked in club soccer as the director of coaching for the Roseburg Soccer Association. During his time there Mitch has implemented a number of age and skill appropriate programs, worked with the state association as an ODP staff coach and assisted to deliver coach education in the form of the USSF “E” licence and a number of in-house coach education workshops. Under his leadership the Oregon club has enjoyed success in the president’s cup winning two finals and for the first time in their history the club recorded five championship wins in one season, in the Southern Oregon League.