A Surprise in Day 2 of the Man United Special Topics Course
Posted by Chris Clements, NSCAA Membership Development Coordinator on Feb 8, 2013 in Events 1 Comment
The NSCAA provided a unique opportunity for a group to travel to Manchester, England, on an exclusive Special Topics course about long term athlete development led by Rene Meulensteen, first team coach for Manchester United. Chris Clements, NSCAA Membership Development Coordinator, will provide brief recaps and photos from each day of the tour.
February 7 and day two of the Manchester United trip brought a surprise that might have topped the trip. As we sat on the bus outside the hotel, NSCAA CEO Joe Cummings made a special announcement: we are heading to Carrington, home of Manchester United first team. This announcement was met with stunned excitement.
As the bus weaved through the neighborhood towards Carrington, a quiet calm fell over the bus as we pulled through the driveway and into the complex. Carrington is an amazing facility with the most perfect grass fields I have ever seen. As we exited the bus onto a viewing area, Rene Meulensteen introduced the first team to the coaches, describing what he was going to try to achieve during the training session. As the players came out on to the training field, we were honored to watch Manchester United legends like Ferdinand, Scholes, Carrick, and De Gea train. And of course, no Manchester United dream trip would be complete without a glimpse of Sir Alex Ferguson. Starting the day with this amazing event could have raised the bar for the day to high, but like most NSCAA events when the bar is raised, everyone raises the level.
Lunch was served at The Cliff training ground, the original training ground of Manchester United. The Cliff has seen legends like George Best train at the facility and thinking back on those legends gives the training ground a sense of prestige. After lunch, Rene introduced the Manchester United youth staff: Michael Glennie, Development Centre Coordinator, and Kevin Ward, Academy Skills Development Coach. Both coaches gave the candidates an insight into how Manchester United ran the facility and recruit the top players from U-6 and up in the surrounding area. After the classroom session, we moved onto the field where Rene led the coaches in a up-tempo field session demonstrating what Manchester United does with the youth academy in order to prepare them for the first team.
After what can only be described as amazing and insightful session by Rene, we watched the youth coaches in action training the top U-6 to U-9 players in the Manchester United system. While some coaches watched the training session, others spoke with Rene’s guest Wim Suurbier, a Dutch legend. Wim Suurbier relayed stories and answered questions about his amazing carrier with Ajax (1964-1977) and the Dutch National team (1966-1978).
After leaving The Cliff, we were notified of another additional event that had been added to the evening. Manchester United’s head of fitness and conditioning Tony Strudwick would present a classroom session to the candidates explaining the in's and out's of how to keep top players physically and mentally prepared for the season. This session was one of the most insightful that I have ever attended. Tony explained how Manchester United used every resource available to make sure the players are always physically and mentally prepared to play both league and European games. At the end of the second day in Manchester, I spent a few minutes thinking back on this once in a lifetime opportunity and still find myself in awe of the knowledge that I have been exposed to.
With three days left in the trip, I am excited to think of what tomorrow will bring.