Supporting leaders in football through innovative and applied learning experiences
The Association of Sporting Directors joins forces with the Korea Football Association to support the education and development of technical directors from across Korea.
After months of planning, in June 2022 Mike Rigg and Dr Dan Parnell landed in Seoul (Korea) to deliver upon the Korea Football Association (KFA) newly established Technical Directors course. The course has been designed by the KFA in collaboration with the Association of Sporting Directors (ASD) to help support the growth of football in elite professional contexts through facilitating technical director education.
Drawing upon their experiences and research from elite football, a comprehensive 2-day programme of learning was devised and delivered by the ASD. The topics utilised global best practices cases to ensure learners were able to engage with both theoretical and practical aspects of the content, which involved guiding learning on the following topics:
- The role of the sporting director
- Football strategy
- Player pathways
- Talent identification and development
- Performance and results
Dr Tae-Seok Jeong, organiser of the KFA Technical Directors course told us:
“It was really great opportunity to learn plenty of practical knowledge and live experiences from ASD. As a researcher and professional, both instructors delivered valuable educational programs for prospective technical directors (TDs).
Contents of presentations well defined distinct roles of TD and systematically outlined how to develop governance, how to recruit talented people and how to scout athletes for the club. Also, the importance of communication between different departments within the same organization was greatly highlighted in order to achieve high performance of a teams.”
An ambition of Mike and Dan was to deliver learning and in the spirit of the ASD, which is to create immersive problem-based real-world scenarios for participants. As such activities included challenges, group-work, applied tasks and space for individual and group reflection. Practically, the technical directors were able to gain experience dealing with genuine real-world challenges. In doing so, they worked collaboratively to develop a recruitment strategy, organise the process for recruiting an academy manager, and developed a football vision and accompanying strategy for a football club, amongst much more.
“The quality of lectures delivered by ASD was really fantastic. The format of teaching was innovative because it was conversational lectures rather than just one-way lecture. Daniel and Mike suggested the way prospective TDs [Technical Directors] to go in Korea.
I have learned and understood the importance of directing recruitment of right people, organizing structure of governance and executing scouts in order to develop and enhance performance although environment and culture is not same as England and Europe”, said a senior coach, KFA national youth development team.
Linking leaders and knowledge exchange
The course was welcomed by colleagues from the KFA, the K-League and FIFA. Recently, FIFA launched an innovative Talent Development Scheme, offering bespoke assistance to member associations, including the KFA to help them achieve their full potential, whilst also continuing to take measures to reduce the disparity in the level of football between different regions of the world.
To connect new ideas and people, the course also included a guest talk from Stuart Webber Sporting Director of Norwich City FC and member of the ASD. Here Stuart contextualised some of the challenges discussed on the course within the context of Norwich FC and shared his experiences and recommendations for colleagues in the room.
In addition to this, the KFA also invited further guests to deliver upon aspects of their TD course, including colleagues from AFC Ajax who presented on their vision, philosophy and practice. This complimented the learning undertaken by the ASD providing learners with further insights on translating strategy to practice.
The visit culminated in the annual KFA coaches conference. Here Mike and Dan shared research insights related to the sporting director and how these related to head coaches working under the leadership of sporting director and / or within a similar structure to over 500 coaches in The Seoul World Cup Stadium, also known as Sangam Stadium. Mike and Dan presented alongside a range of football leaders including Edwin van der Sar, Guus Hiddink, Colin Bell, Park Ji-sung and Lee Young-pyo.
Dan said: “In conjunction with our education partners Ahead In Sport we will continue to work with member associations, sporting directors and clubs to support their aspirations to grow and evolve in this turbulent environment whereby every individual and organisation must strive to be evidence-informed, to learn and to be the best they can be”.
The course which was a genuine exchange of knowledge between the ASD and the KFA, was a huge success. The ASD is committed to providing football leaders with world leading learning and this is one part of it. This builds upon the work of the association with the United Soccer League leaders (owners, CEOs and sporting directors) and provides an opportunity to gain feedback and reflect on the course and delivery ahead of further engagements included across Europe, Asia and North America the ASD have committed to.
Article wrote by Colm Hand, student on the Football Industries MBA at the University of Liverpool
Feature image photo credit: KFA, Dan and Mike.
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