There are times when people laugh at me or send me abusive emails, when I try to encourage volunteering as a step towards building a coaching career pathway...
Photo credit: Ghana Guardian
... It's normally those who believe that 'their time is worth more than working for free' or disgruntled individuals claiming they are already too busy to do anything else and the bills.... volunteering doesn't pay the bills!
As I always say, 'it's not for everyone' and as we are in control (or should be in control) of our own destinies, it's up to us and ourselves only, to determine how our own personal situation will work for us and our dependents.
Some coaches say, 'Matt, I have a family, already have my time taken up and already work 2 jobs to try and earn enough just to survive'. That's fair enough, that's real life and I totally understand, because I've also been there and still now, work and build endlessly to provide for my family.
However, I still believe we are the creators of our own situation and also our own barriers to progression. The act of volunteering is not available to everyone, I know, but as long as we understand why it's not and can accept it's 'not for us', I would hope that it would not be a deciding factor that determines ones future.
On the other hand, if you are in a position to volunteer, I would absolutely recommend it and I believe that it can help open new doors to some amazing opportunities. Even with a family and working a Full-Time job, I know it is still possible to fit in some volunteering and have it help boost your career. I know this because I did it for 3 years myself, working a Full-Time job and then almost having an additional Full-Time job, with the voluntary role.
It's 100% not for everyone. But it can be achieved if you need it and want it bad enough. Many have done it and progressed into bigger Full-Time roles, National team roles, professional club roles, and many will continue to do it.
James was previously an Academy Coach at Cambridge Utd, working with Pre-Academy and Development Centre players before heading out to Ghana in 2019. Originally going out to work with a charity foundation, his volunteering and eagerness to give his time to support others, led him t