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Thursday, 31 January 2013 19:31

Aron Hyde Interview Blog

Aron Hyde Interview Blog

Over the years many foreign coaches have come to England and sought employment. I came across one english coach just over a year ago who did the opposite.


I was planning a trip to Chicago so being obsessed with football I thought I would see if I could take in a game while on holiday, much to the delight of my wife! Having looked at the Chicago Fire MLS website I was intrigued to see that their goalkeeping coach, Aron Hyde was actually english and I came across him on the joys of facebook. After speaking with Aron and getting the lowdown on the club and area he kindly arranged tickets for us to see a game. It was a good experience and Aron even kindly went out of his way to drop us back to our hotel. I really enjoyed the way the Americans hyped the game up and there was plenty of pre-match entertainment.


This past week I caught up with Aron again to get his views on goalkeeping coaching and how things are in the States.





Aron Hyde has been integral in the rapid growth of the Fire’s young, starting goalkeeper Sean Johnson, as evidenced by the 21-year-old’s debut appearance for the U.S. Men’s National Team this past January. In addition to training the Fire’s goalkeeping core, the Birmingham, England product assists with scouting and player development. Aron joined the Fire in 2010 after spending 2009 as an assistant coach with the University of Washington’s men’s team. Prior to joining the Huskies, Hyde worked as the Goalkeeping Coach for Seattle University’s men’s and women’s soccer teams, from 2006-09.


Hyde previously coached for Seattle-based Emerald City FC where he served as assistant goalkeeper coach and head team coach for two of the boy’s club teams. He has been involved as a Region IV Staff Coach, an NSCAA goalkeeping staff instructor and with the Washington state Olympic Development Program. Hyde’s vast playing experience includes spells with Walsall FC, Millwall FC, and Wycombe Wanderers in his native England. Stateside, he spent time at Judson College (NAIA). He currently possesses his UEFA A, USSF A and USSF Goalkeeping licenses





What is your coaching background and who do you currently coach?


I have been coaching now for around 15 years both in the UK and America. I’m currently the Senior Goalkeeper coach for the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer. I am involved in working with all Goalkeepers within the club from 1st team level all the way down through the Academy and youth ages.


Have you completed any coaching qualifications under the American FA and if so did you find their courses a lot different to the English courses?


I have completed courses from both organizations that offer qualifications within US Soccer. The US Soccer Federation runs the traditional A/B/C & GK Courses that are similar set up to the English FA. However the courses tend to stretch over a 12/15 day period where all assessments are done in that time, as geographically it always remains a challenge to go away then come back for assessments. However this I believe will be changing soon and will courses will begin to look at lot like the UEFA A/B etc courses, with time away from the courses to complete log books and such before completing final assessments. The second organization is the National Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). They offer diplomas and are more education based in terms of they are courses to help provide coaches with an educational/structural base with their coaching. There are assessments but instead of the pass/fail method they provide you with a grade from which you demonstrated while being on the course. Both serve a good purpose in the US as there are many levels of soccer from recreation to the professional game.



Can you give me some idea of what youth development is like in the States and in particular for young goalkeepers?


Youth development is a hot topic in soccer at the moment in the US. With the recent introduction of the academy system for which it is mandatory for all MLS Clubs to have, there is a push to see clubs start to bring through players into 1st teams from their own system. One idea that has been set up is the Home Grown Rule. This is where MLS teams are able to claim a player that they have developed in their own set up that is not draft eligible after they have gone to college. This rule has only being going for a couple of years so I expect it to really start to show on teams rosters in the next couple of years.

In terms of goalkeeping, the US has always been successful in producing high quality goalkeepers which many have made the jump to the English game. The US has always had great athletes, with so many games over here requiring hand-eye-coordination there is a natural progression into Goalkeeping. However the demands of the modern game and the ability for the goalkeeper to be comfortable with the ball at his feet, for me has seen the US fall away a little bit in recent times. Goalkeepers in recent times have been neglected as the lack of opportunities to play games at a professional level is very limited. However Major League Soccer just announced a partnership with the USL Pro (3rd Division) to allow MLS Reserve sides the chance to play more games which will only benefit goalkeepers in this country in the long run. They will be able to play more games without the pressure of 1st team football from which they can make mistakes learn from them so that when they reach the 1st team have more experience and are more established.



Are there any goalkeepers in America who you feel are good enough to come over to England and establish themselves in the Premiership in the same way as Tim Howard and Brad Friedel have done?


Well right now the 2 young up and coming goalkeepers in the US are Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid. Both are young and have had up and down starts to their career. However if they can learn from their mistakes they both have all the tools to compete with the likes of Brad Guzan who will most likely take the reins over from Tim Howard when he is no long the Number 1 for the national team.


What goalkeeping coaches have impressed you over the years and why?


There have been a few coaches over the years that have really opened up my eyes to the demands of the goalkeeper coach:


1.   Dan Gaspar – Currently working with Carlos Quieroz in Iran, Dan has coached at Benfica/Porto and Sporting Lisbon as well as at the 2010 World Cup with Portgual. Dan is a personal friend of mine and has always been very innovative with his approach to goalkeeping which has shown in the quality of goalkeepers he’s worked with.


2.   Eric Steele – As most people will know Eric is currently at Manchester United. I have had the opportunity to met Eric when United we on pre season tour a few years back. I have kept in touch with Eric since and he has been a great help to my own personal development as a coach especially being a young coach. Eric is very much at the front of modern goalkeeping and he always has new innovative ways which get me thinking about the position.


3.   Andy Quy – Andy is 1st team Goalkeeper coach at Stoke City and i have had the pleasure of getting to know Andy over the last couple years. Andy for me is one of the top up and coming coaches in England and you only have to look at what an excellent job he has done with Asmir Begovic to see the qualities he has as a coach.



What is your coaching philosophy or what is important to you when coaching goalkeepers?


I keep to the following principles with my coaching:


Educator – Must teach the position

Highlight the demands of the position

Technical – Skill set required

Tactical – Understanding Goalkeepers role within the team, states & stages of the game

Psychological – Attitude & state of mind to play the position

Physical – Capacity to meet the demands of the position

Lifestyle – Dedication to playing the position

Ability to identify breakdowns and correct them

Role model

Demonstrating your passion for the position – Give them motivation

Ability to demonstrate

Highlight strength’s & weaknesses

Instill confidence


How would you prioritise the various different aspects of goalkeeping coaching?


I think it is impossible to prioritise the various aspects of coaching, as especially the professional level if you don’t have some degree of all of them then you will not be successful. However with my main focus currently being with senior professionals I would have to say that the psychological side of the game would be towards the top. If my goalkeepers did not have the technical/tactical and physical qualities then they would not be at that level in the first place. I’m a big believer in the fact that Goalkeepers will forget what you’ve done with them, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel. However the method is as long as you’re sending out a confident goalkeeper there’s every chance they will be successful.


How would your coaching differ across the younger age ranges up to senior goalkeepers?


I think it’s a natural progression within goalkeeper coaching across the ages. The younger they are there is more emphasis on the enjoyment and developing a passion for the position whilst giving them a technical base that they can move forward on.


Then as they get older highlighting attention to detail and getting that winning mentality, this is important if they are to make the jump to the professional level. Then finally at the professional level it’s being committed to the lifestyle of a professional on a day in day out basis.


Nowadays there are many different pieces of equipment that can be used when coaching goalkeepers such as ladders, poles, rebound nets, response balls (balls with lumps on that bounce differently to create reaction saves), what do you think about using this type of equipment?


As a coach I’m very open to exploring different types of equipment that can add different twists to training. I simply use a common sense approach as if it doesn’t make any sense then it is not for me.


What gives you the most satisfaction as a coach?


Seeing kids enjoying playing football. I think with the way the modern game is going and the money that is now involved in the game, the innocence has somewhat gone out of it. That for me is the most important thing as if you’re not enjoying it then it defeats the purpose really!!!






I would just like to personally thank Aron for taking the time out to talk about his philosophy
Watch this space for the next in the series of interviews coming up shortly................................


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