NOWRA’S Luke Nolan will have the opportunity of a lifetime later in the year, when he travels to Osaka, Japan with a number of Football South Coast’s junior representative sides.
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The 26-year-old, who has been in the sport of football since the age of four, believes every step along the way has helped him be selected to coach on this tour in October.
”I was a Warilla Wanderers junior before breaking into first grade at Wollongong United FC at the age of 16,” Nolan said.
“I’ve also played for Albion Park White Eagles and Oak Flats Falcons before joining the Gerringong Breakers, who I still play for today.”
While he still plays at a high level, an injury to his knee in 2015 forced Nolan onto the sidelines for an extended period of time – which is when he took up coaching.
“I tore my LCL late in the 2015 season, and a nine-month recovery essentially meant I couldn’t play in 2016,” he said.
“My first grade coach Michael Garcia had taken the under 15s gig at Wollongong Wolves for 2016 and he invited me to be his assistant coach to keep me involved while I recovered from my surgery – I have not stopped coaching since.”
This led Nolan to joining Southern Branch this season, where he coaches the under 12 boys skill acquisition program (SAP) team.
“All my coaching gigs have definitely shaped the person I am today,” he said.
“Starting as an assistant in an NPL1 environment with the Wolves meant I was learning from very experienced ex-players who have been coaching for a long time at that level.
“I was able to take what I learned at the Wolves to start coaching my own sides, and since completing my FFA/AFC youth and senior C license coursework, I’ve been able to take on more and more roles within the Shoalhaven and beyond.”
Nolan has impressed during his short tenure on the sidelines, which is why he will assist the Football South Coast coaching staff in Japan with the Association Youth League teams, aged 13-16.
“I got the gig to take the under 12 boys Country Southern team to the Football NSW State and Country Titles in Mudgee last year, and it was there that Football South Coast technical director Jonathan Forster noticed my potential,” he said.
“After watching a couple of matches he, and assistant technical director Matt Borg, praised the style of play I was instilling into the side I had with me, and we’ve kept in touch since then.
“I got a phone call from Jonathan a couple of weeks ago inviting me along to assist with the coaching staff on a two-week football tour of Japan.
“It was a big surprise, and an opportunity I couldn’t pass up – I am very excited.
“I’ve never been to Japan before, and just recently, I thought it would be a couple years before I went overseas again, so I’m very happy that my coaching has produced this opportunity.”
During the two-week trip, the squads Nolan will be working with will get access to a number of training sessions with J-League academy teams, as well as playing a handful of matches against local sides.
“I’m sure the culture shock will be big, as I’ll be experiencing not just the football culture, but Japanese culture in general,” he said.
“I’m expecting to learn a lot, and to have a great time working with our squads heading over.
“It will be a huge learning experience for my coaching and football.
“Being able to learn first hand from some of the best academies in Japan and Asia will be great to add to the coaching resume.
“Just getting that exposure to the way they do things over there will enhance my ability to provide the best coaching possible to the kids I coach back here in the Shoalhaven.”
Upon his return, Nolan wants to see where his coaching can take him.
“Long-term, I want to go as high as possible with my coaching accreditation,” he said.
“I have completed the C-License, and I’m still extremely young as far as coaches go.
“The short-to-medium-term goal is to continue to learn and grow my knowledge as a coach and get enrolled in the B-License as soon as possible.
“I want to go as high as possible as a coach.”
To help assist with getting Nolan to Japan, he has set-up a GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/football-tour-osaka-japan
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