Sunday 13th June 2004

Jamie on course for success

JAMIE LEGGETT was a solid performer for Bromley’s under eighteen side in the M.U.S.H. Kent Youth League last season, writes Stephen McCartney.

The eighteen-year-old is currently in America on a coaching course, which he hopes will improve his chances for success with the Ryman League Division One outfit in the near future.

Leggett, who lives in Abbey Wood, played for local clubs Abbey Boys, Welling Allstars, Teviot Rangers and Hawkesfield before he helped Thamesmead Town win the Bexley League A Division under current Bromley youth team secretary Dave Cairns, before moving with Cairns and most of the team to Bromley, where he has spent the last three seasons.

With a new reserve team at Bromley put in place for next season, Leggettt, whose best position is central defence or sweeper, aims to be a key member for the second string and push for a place in the first team squad, for a club he has a big affection for.

Leggett explains how he learnt about the coaching courses in America.

He said:  “I applied for the course through Challenger Sports.  I went to Brunel College for an interview and I put on one session to see if I was good enough to go to America with the other coaches.  I went to Coventry at the beginning of May for a training weekend and then flew out to Dallas airport on the 5th June.”

Leggett was told last year by his college, London Leisure College, that he had to wait a year before qualifying.

Leggett is looking forward to meeting new people from around the world and seeing other coaches from the UK, learning different coaching techniques and of course, he is enjoying the American weather.

Leggett added: “The course is all over Texas and I will be going each week and moving around Texas coaching different kids and staying with different families.

“Challenger Sports are a big company out in America running camps for kids.

“In all there are 450 coaches from all over the UK coaching in different states in America.”  He said.

“Over 2000 people applied and I am delighted to be one of the 450 coaches that were chosen.”

Leggett, who wears his heart on his sleeve and plays with the same passion for his team as former England legend Stuart Pearce, returns to England on the 8th or 9th of August, where he hopes to get down to business and fight for a place in Bromley’s new reserve team.

Although a manager of the club’s second string has yet been appointed, the passionate player will be trying to impress the boss and knock on the door of first team manager Stuart McIntyre’s for a place in the first team squad as the club push for a long awaited promotion spot back into the Ryman Premier Division.

Leggett admitted: “I applied for a job at Charlton Coaching scheme before I went away and I spoke to the person in charge and he said to get back to him when I return.

“He told me I have an interview for sure when I get back to England because I have already worked on the Charlton Scheme on a voluntary basis for two weeks with two well known people in Kent football, including Jamie Day, who has just signed for Paul Parker’s Welling United from Dover Athletic.

“I also worked for the Goals Community Scheme, which is run by Steve Kinchin, a Bromley youth team coach.

“Last season I worked with most of the youth teams at Bromley and I  hope to do this again this season.  I also go back to college to complete my level two in football coaching (FA).”

Leggett feels, with his coaching skills, he will be putting out all the stops to continue playing for a club he has a big affection for as he aims to add to his one unused substitute appearance for the club’s first team, which was a Kent Senior Cup tie against Tonbridge Angels last season.

During his time in the youth team ranks at Bromley he has seen many good youngsters leave the club.

He said: “After three seasons at Bromley, I have seen the ups and downs and comings and going of several players including Edwin Mante, Nigel Pearce, Jon Paine, Danny Pearce and Steve Tapper to name a few.”

He admitted: “I believe I have started to love this club more than any other I have played for, and that is hard to say after the championship winning season I had at Thamesmead Town before I moved to Bromley.

“However, that is in the past now, and I want to play for Bromley Football Club and wear the badge with heart as I believe I did last season.”

Last season was a transition time for manager Derek Parnham and his side, but results improved in the second part of the season, but there are several players, including Leggett, who are good enough to make a name for themselves in the reserve team next term.

Leggett insisted: “I would like to stay at Bromley, as long as the reserve team manager wants me.

“I will try my best to prove I can play in this side and I will also be trying to put myself in Stuart McIntyre’s mind and give him back up if needed, to play at centre back or sweeper, as I believe this is my best position.”

Like other footballers, Leggett is thankful to many people for giving him support during his career and his life.

He said: “I have to say a big thank you to a lot of people as I’ve played under many managers and coaches over the years, but I would like to thank my parents for supporting me with what ever I do.”

He also thanked Dave Cairns, Derek Parnham, Steve Kinchin and Trevor Cross.

Leggett praised: “Dave Cairns for the year we won the Bexley A Division and giving me my first league title when I played for Thamesmead Town.”

However, probably the biggest thank you has got to go to Derek Parnham, Bromley’s under eighteen manager last season.

Leggett added: “For what he has done for me in coaching and my football.  I am a better coach and player thanks to him and I also thank him for helping me mentally and talking to me.

“Steve Kinchin gave me my first job on his scheme and lastly someone who is no longer at Bromley – Trevor Cross -  because he was there to get me fit and I’ve taken that on board and that has helped me a lot.”

Leggett, who watched Bromley’s first team matches more than any other youth team player last season, gave a message to the club’s fans.

He said: “I’d like to wish all Bromley fans a good summer and hope next season we go up.

“I ask them to come and watch the reserve team because they have some good players – trust me!

“Even if I am not at the club – if the reserve team manager doesn’t want me, I wish them well, because the players are my mates and it’s been good playing with them, but I hope to be back playing with them next season.”

Leggett, however, has made good friends with fellow coach in America, twenty-one-year old Scot, Steve McBirnie.

McBirnie, from Ayrshire, played for Maybole Boys Club, Valspar Boys Club, Ayr Boswell Boys Club, Caledonain Boys Club before playing for Maybole Juniors for a short spell.

Last season, the striker, played for Maybole Amateurs and has moved to Dailly Amateurs in time for the new season.

McBirnie said: “I have been doing sports coaching at college for the last three years where I have coached various age groups from 8-15.

“I coached for the Scottish Football Association at the beginning of last summer and have coached a local under twelve side.

“I found out about Challenger through a friend at college and then I applied the same way as Jamie.  My interview was in Glasgow.

“I am looking forward to meeting lots of new friends this summer, coaches, the kids I coach or the families I stay with.

“I hope to gain valuable experience this summer and become an all round better coach.”

McBirnie aims to take back his new skills to improve Scottish football, which has gone into decline with many foreign imports in top flight football denying Scottish youngsters making their name for themselves at top clubs north of the border.

He joked: “Hopefully I will be able to take some new practices back home so I can teach the future Scottish kids to actually win a game of football!”

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Contact Stephen McCartney
Email:  stephen@mccartney2000.fsnet.co.uk
Telephone:  07979 418 360