How did your path into professional coaching begin?
My path to coaching began at a very young age. I always remember being fascinated by the pre/post-match interviews with the coaches and how they could speak so well. So, from a very young age my father taught me to „learn“ the game and not just watch it.
How I got into it was interesting. I went to America to study and ended up playing a little bit but was frustrated with the standards so in the college I was at, I went to assist the women’s team and loved it. Being able to speak about the game and mix with full international, gifted players was like heaven to me. It still is actually. I adore speaking about the game at all levels. After winning the 2007 national championships, I was walking past my office, and I heard my name mentioned. I intercepted the call, and it was concerning coming to Iceland, and I was hooked. I left the States in Jan 2008, and have been coaching full-time ever since, in both the men’s and women’s game.
What aspects of coaching do you see as fundamental?
One of the main aspects of coaching is a growth mindset. Be open to learning, try things that people(Especially your players) recommend to you. Don’t have an ego – Always assume the person you’re talking to knows something that you don’t because I have learned both in football and in life that „EGO KILLS TALENT“.
Be humble – be aware that like a parent, when one decides to go into coaching, it immediately becomes about your players and not just about you. Let them know you care about them and then ACTUALLY care about them. Show this through your actions, your honesty and your character.
On the professional side, always keep educating yourself – there’s always somewhere new to go as regards learning. There is a lot more that you don’t know out there than what you do know, and it is exciting to go and find these things.
And on the field, I have always believed that setting up the training sessions, so that they are enjoyable is very important. I say all the time to coaches that if you’re not enjoying the session, you can be full sure the players aren’t enjoying it. Gordon Strachan at Coventry was the best example of this. Always full of energy, and he just seemed to love what he was doing. This reflected in the way his teams played – In my opinion.
What did you have to do / to prove to get the UEFA License?
I had to go through the coaching licences like everyone else. UEFA B with KSI in Iceland and UEFA A and UEFA Pro in Ireland with Niall O Regan and the FAI. It was a very time consuming and difficult process that took many years, but Niall and his staff in Ireland made it such and enjoyable and positive experience that I cannot recommend him and the FAI coach education department highly enough.
Coupled with this – it took hours and hours of on field coaching, sacrifices to both personal and social life. – but it is pinnacle of the coach education ladder so therefore it shouldn’t be easy.
There was a lot of trips, such as the trip to UEFA and these were tremendously educational.
What are, in your mind, the main quality to have to be a good coach?
We’ve discussed that in a previous question, but passion, conscientiousness, growth mindset, ability to have an enjoyable time outside of work, and an obsession to become the best you can be. I hope I display these traits and it comes out in my sessions, my interactions with people and my teams.
Anything to add?
The UEFA Pro licence, much like the UEFA A and B are rungs on a ladder. I truly believe the purpose of these courses is to iron out the bad habits that we as coaches can have. The more I learn about the game, the more I absolutely learn about people too. And to spend time with such amazing people as Robbie Keane, Damien Duff, Srjan Tufa from Valur who was on the course with us – it gives me a new goal daily to aspire to be the best I can be. The football knowledge comes from yourself and your want to learn, however the licencing provides the structure and the means on which to put it across.