I’ve been wanting to write something about this for a long time now and my frustrations have finally led me to this blog post.
So, I have been teaching PE and coaching football in Doha, Qatar for over three years now. I still really enjoy my teaching job and I am very grateful for the coaching opportunities I’ve been given. Qatar is a country heading in the right direction and almost everyone is passionate about football. However, there is one thing that really frustrates and slightly angers me about grassroots football and player development out here in Doha.
I’ve been fortunate to coach some very talented footballers over the past three years. From U11 through to U19s – I have seen players with excellent technical ability and players with incredible stamina and work-rate. I can honestly say that some of the players I have seen play would definitely catch the attention of professional clubs in England.
This being said, none of them have been scouted or selected to play club football for any of the professional teams in Qatar. Qatar’s QSL is the main league with most clubs based in Doha, however when it comes to their recruitment and coaching of young players; they only select those with a Qatari passport or those born in the country.
The expatriate community in Doha is growing bigger day-by-day. More and more western families are moving to Qatar through employment which is leading to more young western children entering the British/international private school system. Which has lead to more and more children searching for options to play football.
Evolution Soccer is a fantastic business that offers football coaching to children from an early age and they look to stretch the best players through their academy. It is within these teams and the representative teams that I have coached within the school system where there are players with real talent.
Young English players with talent are not getting the exposure or opportunities they deserve. There is little opportunity for them to play competitive football and, all in all, the grassroots system for young expatriate players is leading to many of them going under the radar.
These young footballers will play school football – fixtures against other schools, train outside of school at one of the football coaching academies and maybe play the odd fixture now and then. They will wait until they are old enough to go to college or university and then look to continue their pursuit in football when they are often out of the country.
I just wanted to vent my frustration, there are some very talented young footballers out here in Doha and they aren’t quite getting the opportunity, development and football exposure they deserve.
Any suggestions, hugely welcome.