Meet Our Experienced Team
The Improtech Soccer coaching staff have proven experience both on and off the field. With 10 UEFA Coaching Licences and more than 1,200 professional appearances between them, across the Premier League and Football League. They understand the drive, commitment and determination that creates a resilient and confident young adult, both on and off the pitch.
Martin is a UEFA Pro Licence holder who has played and coached in the top flight having been at Sunderland AFC, Bristol City and Rotherham United as a player and Middlesbrough, Barnsley, Bury and Hartlepool as a coach.
Having worked with professional players at first, reserve and youth-team level he is passionate about the technical development of young players and developing the Improtech model for education across the UK and further afield.
Simon has a wealth of experience in business development and was responsible for developing the Improtech model for Education across the North East.
He ensures the smooth day-to-day running of the business and guides strategic growth. Before his business career, Simon enjoyed a career in football which have given him wide-ranging contacts in the football community.
Director of Football Education
Steve was head of PE at Sunderland’s Farringdon Community Academy for many years – the same school through where England footballer Jordan Henderson and England cricketer Scott Borthwick progressed. An experienced UEFA ‘A’ Licence football coach he has worked at Sunderland AFC and Middlesbrough AFC Academies coaching a range of age groups. He brings to the company a focus on the holistic development of young players, making sure their academic and personal growth is as much a priority as their football progress. He is also head of safeguarding and staff development.
Lead Soccer Coach
A Former Premier League player with Sunderland AFC and an ex-Republic of Ireland international, Stephen has helped raise the profile of Improtech. Soccer Recently retired from the game, he is already an experienced coach and a holder of the UEFA ‘A’ Coaching Licence, quickly absorbing Improtech Soccer’s coaching methods and philosophy. He acts as an ambassador for Improtech Soccer in the Republic of Ireland and is the lead coach at the our Elite Boys and Girls’ academy at St Bede’s Catholic School in Peterlee.
Lead Soccer Coach
Carlton brings his vast playing and coaching experience to St Joseph’s Catholic Academy in South Tyneside. A professional footballer at Wimbledon FC in the 80s and 90s, the midfielder subsequently carved out a successful career as a coach and is a former manager of Women’s Super League club, Sunderland Ladies.
Carlton is also Under 15/16 Academy coach at Sunderland Football Club.
Lead Soccer Coach
Stuart is a talented, ambitious and focused coach who has been with Improtech Soccer from its inception in 2012.
He holds the UEFA ‘A’ Coaching Licence, the UEFA Elite Youth ‘A’ Licence and the full FA Youth Award. Stuart coached Sunderland Schools’ FA Under 13s side to a national trophy in 2014. He is the lead coach in our Elite Academy in English Martyrs School, Hartlepool.
Lead Soccer Coach
Stuart is a former Manchester United and England youth player who signed professional forms for Man Utd at just 17. He began his coaching career at Sunderland AFC in 2008 and is currently a UEFA ‘B’ licence holder. Stuart is lead Coach at Walker Riverside Academy and is passionate about the technical development of players.
Colin is a former professional footballer based at our centre in Sunderland College, coaching our men’s first team. A UEFA ‘B’ Licence coach, he started his playing career at Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2001 before playing for a variety of league sides including Mansfield Town, Chesterfield, Northampton Town and Lincoln City.
He currently plays semi-professional as a forward for non-league side Sunderland RCA.
Director of Girls Football Development
Shannon is an experienced UEFA qualified coach who brings a wealth of experience of the girl’s football landscape in the North east having enjoyed huge success with the teams that she has coached for over a decade.
Charged with improving the quality of provision and standard of play across our two girls’ elite academies she does so with unrivaled passion for girls football.
Mark coaches at our Walker Riverside Academy in Newcastle. An experienced coach who has helped many young players progress to professional academies, he is heavily involved in grassroots football across the North East and is a UEFA Level 2 coach and is currently completing his UEFA B licence.
He is also holds Youth coaching modules 1 and 2 and disability in Football qualifications.
Alex is a bright and ambitious young coach who is a great example of the pathways Improtech can provide for young people.
As an outstanding young player at the age of 11 he joined one of our school academies resulting in a professional scholarship at Rotherham FC. Whilst representing the clubs Under 18 and 23 sides he continued to gain his coaching qualifications and is now one of our lead at St Bedes Catholic school and is heading towards his UEFA B licence.
Ethan is an Ex -Hartlepool united FC midfield player who also holds his UEFA B coaching licence. For one so young he has a lot of coaching experience who alongside his coaching commitments with Improtech is an Academy coach at Sunderland AFC.
Ethan also plays for Northern league division 1 side Newton Aycliffe.
Harrison is the Improtech Fitness specialist and a promising young coach. He is a fully qualified personal trainer and also responsible for designing and implementing the sports science and health and well being – strand of our programmes that underpin everything we do.
- FA Level 2 in Football Sports Coaching
- Level 3 Sports Massage Therapist
- Level 3 Fitness and Personal Training
- Level 2 Nutrition and Health
Oliver is a very promising young player with National league side Blyth Spartans and aspiring coach who supports all of our groups at our St Bedes Catholic school Elite. Academy. Oliver is an ex Improtech scholar who has his sights firmly on playing at the highest level.
Michael is an Ex -Northern league striker and FA Level 1 coach who has an excellent reputation in the East Durham area and previously had a scouting role with Middlesbrough FC.
He also coordinates transport arrangements for all of our Academies.
Neil is our most recent addition to the coaching team and brings a wealth of playing and coaching experience to Improtech soccer. Neil holds the UEFA Pro Licence and has coached at every level from Academy coach to first team manager across the globe working at a host of top clubs including West Ham United, Leeds United, Bolton, Blackburn and Hull City. His playing career was equally impressive with 400 games for Everton, Newcastle United, FC, Preston North End, Bolton Wanderers and Oldham.
Improtech Soccer Goalkeeping Coach
Chris is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence coach (outfield) and a Football Association ‘B’ Licence coach (goalkeeping).
He is a FA Goalkeeping coach educator able to take level 1+2 goalkeeping courses and holds the FA Advanced Youth Award Goalkeeping 12-16 .A former Hartlepool United goalkeeper, he holds a UEFA Goalkeeping A Licence.
Head of Social Media and Marketing
Ian is our Head of Social Media and Marketing and is responsible for all of the great content you see across our social channels and website. Ian has more than 20 years of experience in brand management, marketing and development across football, fashion, education and leisure industries.
Our Coaches Train To The Highest Possible Standard
Levels Of Coaching And Child Protection Include:
UEFA Pro Licence Coaching - FA Level 5
The highest level a coach can reach in Europe, there are less than 200 people in England with the qualification
The UEFA Pro Licence is the highest level a coach can reach in Europe, and some of the top names in the game have the qualification. The course has been designed to develop skilled leaders, coaches and managers that can create a sustained level of success in the game.
UEFA A Level Coaching - FA Level 4
The second highest level a coach can reach in Europe, coaches at a UEFA A Level of coaching have developed knowledge and expertise in areas including:
- Strategies and tactics
- Trends in the game
- Position specific coaching
FA Advanced Youth Coaching Award
Specifically designed for coaches in a professional academy set-up.
The award was created to develop a highly skilled community of youth coaches within the English game. Built on expertise achieved through the FA’s Long-Term Player Development model, it helps coaches work towards the delivery of high-class technical delivery for young players.
UEFA B Level Coaching - FA Level 3
Coaches at a UEFA B Level of coaching have developed knowledge and expertise in areas including:
- Refined beliefs, values, coaching and playing philosophy
- Developed players with practices that meet their technical, tactical, psychological and social needs
- An understanding of the game and how to meet the needs of players.
All of our coaches are fully DBS checked, allowing them to work with children and young people
A DBS check is a legal requirement and gives parents peace of mind about:
- The suitability of our coaches to work with young people
- That we do everything possible to protect the players in our care
- Our coaches are held to the highest standard.