James Scott Interview by Dylan O’Connell

Tipperary native James Scott is relishing his role as Republic of Ireland Women’s Under-17 Head Coach.

Scott previously worked as National Academy U14 Boys Head Coach, Republic of Ireland U16 Boys Assistant Coach, and Republic of Ireland ‘Futures’ team Head Coach before stepping into his current job in July 2019.

In addition to his work with the national team, Scott also works as the FAI Development officer for north Tipperary. This position sees Scott perform a number of tasks in the area including putting systems in place for player development and creating structures for the football leagues in his area.

James: “I love my position as the Development Officer for north Tipperary as it really pushes me as a coach,” Scott told Pro-Scout 3.

James: “One day in my work week I could be dealing with the top players in a regional emerging talent group and the next day I could be working with a Football for All group. I have to wear a lot of coaching hats for my job and I love it.”

Since Scott took over the job in 2008 and since then there has been an explosion in footballing talent all across the Premier County. Examples include The NTSFL winning SFAI National competitions, Nenagh AFC winning U17 and U18 National Titles and Barry Coffey playing for Celtic FC. The real success story belongs to women’s football as the numbers have ballooned in Tipperary.

James: “The fastest growing sport in the county is women’s football. In my area around 45% of all players are female. At the moment we have some very good players making their way onto Gaynor Cup teams and getting signed by underage sides in the Women’s National League.”

James: “You can see the numbers with the FAI Home Skills videos. Everyday the kids will send us clips of their skills and 50% of them are female.”

James: “What we need though – for Tipperary and the country itself – is an Italia 90 moment. We need the senior team to qualify for a major tournament. If that happens the numbers participating in women’s football will blow up.”

With the current shut down on all football activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Scott is taking a different approach to working with the Under-17s.

James: “A lot of players in our squads would have their own training programs from their clubs. So, when I’m working with them I focus on player education. For example if I see a good podcast or article I will send it into the Whatsapp group. I have also done work with the girls on the analysis of games. For this we have the players send in clips of either something they thought they have done well in a previous game or a clip of a player in their position which they aspire to. We look at the clips and give feedback. This will give them a better understanding of the game.”

Scott also opened up about his coaching philosophy to Pro-Scout 3: “When we do have these camps I always have the same core philosophy that you have to develop the player to develop the person.”

James: “We want to give the players life lessons they can take away into their everyday lives. Even if that is sleeping right and eating right, the players can take that away to their day to day lives.”

James: “We would love if every player went on to play professional but that might not happen so some players will have to get a regular job. Making a career from football is a bonus at the end of the day. That is why we need to develop the person for the real world and prepare them for what they will encounter.”