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College football coach achieves major goal

Ian Clark

Hartlepool College’s Head Football Coach has become one of the most qualified coaches in college football after passing the illustrious UEFA A Licence. Former Hartlepool United FC player Ian Clark joined the College over ten years ago, after hanging up his boots. In that time he has overseen the coaching of the College’s academy football teams, while also developing himself from Enrichment Coordinator to Sports Lecturer.


Ian has been integral in the College’s huge amount of football successes across the last decade, which include trophy wins, national final appearances and successful progression for many players to university football both here and abroad. Ian reflects “I have worked with so many young, talented footballers, both male and female, across the years and long may it continue. However, as well as helping College footballers reach their potential Ian has also been working towards his own goal - the coveted UEFA A Licence, which took a full year’s studying on and off the pitch.


Ian said “Long before I decided to retire from professional football I knew I wanted to coach, and the College has provided me with the perfect platform to develop. My teaching background and academic qualifications help me understand and apply the knowledge to support these young players to progress. The UEFA A Licence has always been an ambition of mine and already I am putting the content of the course into my daily coaching practice”


Across the one year course Ian made many visits to the home of English football, St George’s Park, where he was given expert tutorship from the Football Association’s top coaches. Ian also received guest lectures from former England international Phil Neville and Premier League manager Sean Dyche. Ian noted “The course was such a rich learning environment. It was great to hear the experiences of those working in the best league in the world and how they are constantly looking to further develop to support their players. That has always been my intention to develop myself in order to support my players.”

 Shahban Mohammed and Connor Short


That support is paying off admirably, with two of his students, Connor Short and Shahban Mohammed (pictured above), both 17, recently playing for England. Ian said “It is fantastic to see two of our players representing their country at college level and making such an impact too, with Shahban captaining the side and Connor scoring some important goals. However, I am seeing real success in the development of all of my players. The nature of college football means I can lose players throughout the year as they succeed in their career and gain apprenticeships. This is great for them and great for the many other players that have had the chance to step up and take their place.”


College Principal Darren Hankey expressed his pride at the achievements of the College’s sporting teams, saying “We promote hard work in all that we do at the College and Ian is a perfect example of that. He has, throughout his time here, gone over and above to develop himself and demonstrate to his players and students the benefit of all that hard work. At the College we regularly see the results of Ian’s work but now that is clear for everyone with this season’s successes and the success of the England internationals in his teams”.


The Hartlepool College football academy allows players aged between 16 and 19 to play and train up to nine hours a week under the guidance of Ian and his fellow coach and former Hartlepool United teammate, Tommy Miller. Academy athletes combine their football training, strength and conditioning programming and recovery with a successful education in a subject area of their choice. 

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