Gary Taylor-Fletcher column: Why I'm making the move to America

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You may have seen that I’ll be moving to New York in September to coach young players.

It’s a permanent job with the National Centre of Excellence (NCE).

It’s no secret I would have liked something in England but the opportunities are fantastic over there and the game is growing like nobody’s business.

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I’ll be coaching players from five right through to 18. The idea is that NCE provides a stepping stone between the grassroots and the academies.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher (centre) is heading over to the USA for a coaching roleGary Taylor-Fletcher (centre) is heading over to the USA for a coaching role
Gary Taylor-Fletcher (centre) is heading over to the USA for a coaching role

It is designed to help players who are looking to get into the academies at MLS clubs or maybe hoping to get a soccer scholarship at university.

We operate on 12 sites around New York State and into Connecticut, and NCE is looking to expand all over the country with centres in Florida, California and all over.

I was getting fed up with not getting opportunities in England and I’d thought for a while about moving across the Atlantic.

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I’d only ever been there on holiday before but I flew over in January to do some networking.

I was offered a few jobs but NCE was the most professional and it was a really good opportunity.

I was impressed by John Curtis, the founder of NCE, who is a former Leicester City player like myself.

That’s just a coincidence – we played there at different times but I found we had a lot of common values where football is concerned.

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I went out there again for 10 days at the end of February to put a few final things in place and, but for lockdown, I’d have started work in mid-April.

So it’s been in the pipeline for a while but it’s great to get the whole thing over the line.

It isn’t just about skills – my role at NCE will be about helping young players to develop their game intelligence.

You can have high skill levels but you need to know when to use those skills and how to integrate them into a game.

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I’m looking forward to working with John and we will work together to raise the levels of professionalism at NCE Soccer.

The trickiest part for me may well be getting used to calling the game ‘soccer’ all the time as football is something very different over there.

I was frustrated by the lack of management and coaching opportunities in this country, and I was growing tired of applying for jobs.

I’m not sure it’s any more difficult to get your foot in the door now – it always has been difficult and there has always been a lot of ‘who you know’.

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But football is a very ruthless industry, whether you are a player, a manager or an agent, and I just wasn’t enjoying being around the whole set-up in England.

So I’m taking the plunge. It’s a magnificent opportunity for me and one a lot of people will be jealous of.

I’ll probably be leaving the country just as Blackpool’s season is getting started but it looks like they are shaping up for an exciting year.

They have made some astute signings already, bringing in some targets I’m sure they’ve had lined up for a while.

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It looks like there is a lot of attacking potential in the side and next season will be a great opportunity for them.

Neil Critchley is steeped in Liverpool’s culture and knows all about their methods, so I think it all bodes really well for Blackpool.

I’ll be a long way from Bloomfield Road but I’ll keep in touch with how they are getting along

I’ll be a long way from Liverpool too but, of course, a lot of people follow their fortunes on the other side of the pond and I will be one of them.

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You won’t be surprised to learn I really enjoyed last Wednesday’s title celebrations, even though they had to be in an empty stadium.

I’m sure that when the time is right, the city will celebrate in style, and like every Liverpool supporter I’m looking forward to seeing Anfield packed again.

After winning the Premier League once, the task now for Jurgen Klopp and his squad is to do it again.

It will be much more difficult next season. Manchester City will spend a shedload of money and I think Chelsea will mount a real challenge of their own.

Liverpool will have to keep strengthening themselves to stay ahead – and I’ll be cheering them on, though from a long way further afield.