July 7, 2021

Q & A with ISCA Head Football Coach – Sam Gallagher

Ian Evans

We spoke with ISCA Head Football Coach and former A-League & Young Socceroo Sam Gallagher about his favourite career achievements, coaching and of course playing with Manly United FC. Here’s what Sam had to say:

 Sam, thanks for joining us and congratulations on the latest addition to your family, Hugo Robert Gallagher!

 What would you say is the highlight of your sporting career so far?

 Sam: I would have to say representing my country at the 2009 U20 World Cup in Columbia against Brazil was a huge highlight for me. I was 18 years of age and only months before I was playing for Manly United so it was a big step up but very exciting and definitely one of my most memorable career highlights. 

 What are your tips for balancing study & sport?

 Sam: I would have to admit that I didn’t have a good balance of study and sporting commitments when I was younger but have definitely seen the error in my ways and probably quite a big regret of mine is that I didn’t put more of my free time to use while playing football to further my studies. It put me behind the eight ball when my professional playing career came to an end and I then basically had to start from scratch. I still play semi-professionally and now coach full time and my advice to anyone who is undertaking both study and sport is to get into a good routine early. Life is all about balance and whether it’s study and sport, or family/friends and work, you will always have to juggle multiple facets of your life. If you can get into a good routine and an enjoyable one where there is a good amount of balance you will become a lot more productive and also preparing well for later life where the juggling act becomes more difficult. I found that having more that one focus point actually makes each area of your life more productive when you’re doing it. Taking a break from thinking about your sport and focusing on study can then help you regain focus when you get back to training or playing and also makes you appreciate the time you have while partaking in your chosen sport. 

 What do you enjoy most about your job?

 Sam: Being able to help people get better at the sport that they love or just really enjoy their football experience is a great feeling. I love seeing elite players getting better and improving as well as enjoying what they do and when I work with younger children I really enjoy helping them fall in love with football through fun positive experiences. 

 How do you work on becoming a better coach?

 Sam: I think self-analysis is key to improving in whatever you choose to do. I try and always evaluate myself first, whether that’s the delivery of a session or looking back on each day, week or month and look at ways to improve. Also, having an open mind is really important. Always being willing to learn from others. Whether that comes in the form of feedback or just watching and listening to people who may have more experience than you or sometimes even picking up new things from people less experienced than you. Being humble enough to admit you don’t know everything and being able to accept criticism or learn from other people’s ideas. 

 Where do you draw inspiration from?

 Sam: I have loved football from a very young age and always aspired to be a great football player. I feel very lucky to have lived part of my dream by becoming a professional footballer, even though not for a huge amount of time or to the heights that I was hoping. However, after falling into coaching as my professional playing career came to an end, I found a new love for the game in a slightly different space. I now feel that coaching has become more of a passion for me than playing and I’m ambitious to test myself against the best to become a very good coach at the highest level. 

 What motivates you?

 Sam: I think I’m naturally a very competitive person, whether I like to admit it or not. This may be down to playing sport from a young age and having to constantly compete against others to become better. I also pride myself in having a good reputation at what I do, whether that’s playing or coaching and this makes me strive to be better each time I coach or play. Not that I’m a big believer in caring too much about what other people think of you, but if i can ask myself honestly, am I doing a good job at what I’m doing and could I be doing more or trying harder, then that is enough to motivate me to become better. 

ISCA only employs the best coaches,  mentors and sports industry leaders to assist the next generation of sport. Interested in joining? Please go to https://www.iscaustralia.edu.au/application-form/