James Patrick, Assistant Coach of Mohammedan Sporting Club talk with Bangladesh Football Live about his early career, future, his time in Bangladesh. What he said about given below:
James Patrick McAloon
U.K. and Ireland
FFA/AFC A Licence Coach, Coach Developer Football Federation Australia B and C Licence, Coach Assessor A, B and C Licence.
Assistant Head Coach Mohammedan Sporting Club Dhaka
Founder and Technical Director Rising Star Football Academy Asia
Born – 7th of March 1984
How your career started
I enjoyed playing football from a very young age and was a good young footballer, playing in local football leagues as well as a local school of excellence. I continued my football aspirations along side my education until the age of 18. When I was 18 it was clear that although I was a competitive footballer I would not make it as a top professional in the England. I went to University to study Law and in 2006 I gained a Law Degree from The University of Birmingham in The United Kingdom. As well as studying at University I worked as a fitness coach gaining my Level 3 Personal Training Certificate as well as completing FA level 1 and 2 coaching courses. It was from the age of 16 that I had taken an interest in coaching within my school, I knew that my football brain was far more advanced than my ability, and I wanted to explore options in the game. It was not however until I left University and travelled to The Republic of Korea in 2006 that I began to spend more and more time coaching. I was playing Regional football and coaching at the same time, I realised that my passion for football and sports was incredibly strong and that my ability to coach, communicate and motivate others was good, it was at this time that I decided to concentrate fully on coaching, co founding my football academy in 2008.
What was the cause behind choosing this profession…?
This is an easy question for me to answer, but possibly a difficult answer for others to understand. I love football, I love sport and was blessed with a great education. I had opportunities to follow other paths in life but football is where I have a real passion. I was not good enough to be a professional player in the UK, however I always knew my football brain, supported by a great education was more advanced than my playing ability. I know that what I have to offer in terms of my ability to communicate, motivate, manage and lead football teams will bring success to everyone involved and that is why I choose coaching football above any other profession.
Who was you inspiration and your idol…?
My inspiration and my idol is my Dad. He along with my mother and sisters instilled my values, my passion and my belief from a very early age. He worked tirelessly throughout his life to build a better life for his immediate and extended family and never asked for anything in return except honesty, loyalty and hard work. He taught me humility, bravery, to care for others and to never give up on your dreams.
Which was your first team..?
The first football team I ever played for was when I was 6 years old, Knowle FC. They were my local team, I also debuted for their senior team at the age of 17. I played for various other teams, with a lot of my youth football experience coming from the Pat Wright School of Excellence from 1991 to 2000. The team I support is Liverpool F.C. and all my Rising Star Football Academy Teams. However above all the team I support the most is the team I am working with in that moment, and at this time that is Mohammedan Sporting Club Dhaka.
What brought you a person like you in our country…?
My good friend and Head Coach of Mohammedan Sporting Club Sean Lane is the man who brought me to Bangladesh, I pestered him to let me come and spend some time with the team in May 2019, I was obviously useful because he asked me to come back and I happily accepted.
How was your experience in our country until now..?
I have had a great experience so far, the people of Bangladesh are a real asset to the country. Bangladeshi people are warm and welcoming and are so interested to learn and progress. I don’t like the traffic or the air pollution, but the food is fantastic.
What are the lackings in our football..?
There are two major failings that need to be fixed. Firstly the lack of facilities for playing football, without a major investment in more football fields and facilities this will hold the progression of the game back. Secondly is the lack of proper football development at grassroots level, there is some organised football for young players however there is no consistency or continuity. To continually improve there needs to be talent spotting as well as organised monitoring and guidance from age 7 through to the professional game. Each football club in the BPL should have a youth development academy for players 7 and up.
Any suggestion for our local players to improve…?
At Mohammedan Sporting Club, Sean and I with the backing of the board and staff have been able to implement many new initiatives successfully and the players have gotten on board the bus and worked toward a better football future for themselves and Bangladesh. However the two main areas in which immediate impact can be had is diet and physical conditioning. Talent, ability and technique is one aspect which over time can be influenced, but every player led by good coaching can improve their physical condition to play good football by implementing an improved diet, consistent physical conditioning programme and an honest and consistent approach to both. During this lockdown period I have been providing virtual conditioning workout plans for our players and I know that many other players from other teams have been using them too. This commitment comes from the players, the players who want to be the best will rise to the top as a result of their consistency and commitment.
A remarkable event of your life to inspire our youth…
When I was very young I lived in Ireland, which is the birth country of my father and mother and where I also have nationality. I was 5 years old and on the news came The Hillsborough Disaster, a football tragedy in which 96 Liverpool football fans lost their lives watching the team they loved. From that day forward I have always had a desire to honour the people who died that day through my passion for football both youth development and senior perfromance phase football.
Who is the best defender,midfielder and attacker of our country in your eyes…?
This is a very difficult question because there are many good young footballers in Bangladesh, and although I have spent a reasonable amount of time in Bangladesh now I always focus on my own players rather than that of other teams, because I have no influence over players from other teams, I can only influence my own players. So I will focus on the players at Mohammedan who can help have a positive influence on the National team in the next 5 years.
Defender – Habibur Rahman Sohag. Sohag was played as a midfielder all his career, this is a striking error in the understanding of the player by his previous coaches. Sohag has the best vision and best left foot of any player in Bangladesh. He reads the game so effectively and his left foot is a weapon from open play and set pieces. He is an astute defender who positions himself well and is good in the air. Now he has been converted to a defender he will soon play in the national team as long as he remains consistent and committed. If he had have been played in his correct position since he began his professional career I can only imagine how good he would be now.
Midfielder – Amir Hakim Bappy. Possess all the qualities of the ‘special player’, strength, power, speed, skill and most importantly ‘BELIEF’. Bappy wants the ball and before he has it he is confident that he will use it effectively. If he loses it he works tirelessly to win in back. Again Bappy is another player who has suffered from not knowing his true position. When he maintains his consistency and develops his final pass and positioning he well excel further.
Midfielder – Mithu Bhuiyan – Mithu has the desire and attitude to become a leading talent in Bangladesh. He works harder than any other player and is always looking to improve, he does extra work and follows instructions clearly. Mithu must come more consistent from game to game and then he will truly excel.
Attacker – Sahed Hossain. Technically one of the best young talents in Bangladesh, his touch and technique are very good, he has phenomenal endurance and importantly he scores and assists goals. Sahed knows he must be more ruthless and strong and then he will be the complete player.
Remarkable memory in football of our country…
Having loved football from a very young age there are so many magical football moments that there are too many to mention, all I will say however is that the moments that I have been involved in as a player or coach are more special to me than watching the achievements of others.
How was your experience with the lifestyle of our country people…?
Bangladesh is an incredibly welcoming country and it is fantastic to see that there are so many great initiatives and projects across the country which are bringing development. The metro system as well as new roads and facility systems. The economy is developing and there is much more room for advancement in the coming years. There is much more to be done in the coming decades and as long as this is done with consistency and integrity Bangladesh will flourish.