Richard Harcus, Projects Manager and Youth Development Director (Arsenal Soccer Schools) at Arsenal F.C
1) Who are ya?
Richard Harcus, Age 37 from Glasgow Scotland, currently living and working with Arsenal in Vietnam, SE Asia.
2) Who do you support?
Hibernian FC (Scotland)
3) What was your first game?
As a coach it was a local boys team in the Glasgow area and we won, as a fan it was supporting Linlithgow Rose (a Scottish Junior side and they won Im sure), Professionally it was Rangers V Hibernian and Ibrox, Hibernian won 1 nil with a Darren Jackson penalty.
4) What do you do for a job?
I am a Youth Development coach, I also coach the coaches and specialize in Player and Coach Development. I also work on the administration side with Tournaments and Tours for the young Arsenal Players, working in the newly set up ID program. I take control of all new projects and business growth for the soccer school. This covers the Junior Gunners program, right up to the proposed “Senior” program. I also work with local schools and charity awareness in South Vietnam through Arsenal. These are projects where we can help young Vietnamese children with diet and education through football. Both the Player Development and charity outreach programs are very important to me.
5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?
I played with many boys clubs when I was younger and played up to Scotland School boy level. Coaching, I have worked with FC Barca and AS Roma, amongst other teams, in their Youth Development programs across the world.
6) How did you get into it?
I was a Youth Worker in Glasgow (Scotland) for many years and I took up the role of “coach” for a local youth club … it really just grew from there as I was relatively successful with the team, I then took over as U13 coach for a local boys team in Glasgow, where one of the Directors of the club was Kenny Moyes, brother to the then Manchester United manager (although he was Everton Manager at the time). He helped coach and Develop my sessions and helped me form a more rounded product to my coaching. From there it all took off.
7) What do you get out of it?
There is a huge sense of fulfilment and you can actively see results in front of you, player development is hugely important and massively rewarding, and that is on many different scales, from the youngest players basic early development to installing the correct mindset and adult guidance to the young adult player.
8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?
It sounds like a cliché, but just go for it. Read up on what you want to do, study your National FA pathway, work out what you want to do, what you want to achieve and build a plan around that. Focus strongly on your own development as well as your players, push your boundaries and yourself!
9) If you could do it all again what would you change?
I am my own worst critic, but having said that, even the mistakes I have made along the way have helped with my development. A bad result or bad run of results can be turned into a positive by the way you learn from them and bounce back from them. you have to lose to appreciate winning. Its also worth pointing out that at the younger age groups, winning is not all that important, development and enjoyment for the players is paramount. Where this becomes tricky is keeping parents etc. happy and selling your ideas to them so they understand the path that you wish their child to embark on. Getting everyone onside is important and this is a skill you must develop that your not really taught through any football course.
10) Who’s your footballing hero?
Without a doubt Frank Sauzee and Eddie Turnbull. Turnbull had a glittering career at Hibernian but also was a great manager and taught me a lot about humility, drive and maturity as a coach. Turnbull was not only the first British person to score a goal in European competition but was also the manager of the famed “Turnbull’s Tornadoes” that swept aside Real Madrid, FC Barca and many others. Frank Sauzee’s career speaks for itself with France, Marseille and of course Hibernian.