A former Manchester United and Manchester City coach has launched a new global enterprise aimed at changing the way children are taught to play football around the world.
Lee Waddington has launched his firm 1st Team Football in the USA after 30 years’ experience in senior scouting and coaching positions at top clubs across England.
Lee, who is from Stockport, has partnered his enterprise with Bjork Learning Lab at the University of California, Los Angeles, and said his firm deploys “pioneering scientific techniques”.
He will roll out the brand this year to India, China, South Africa, Australia and the UAE, hoping to allow thousands of children to benefit from world-class coaching and development.
He said: “There’s a need for fresh innovation in football coaching. In my mind this will be driven by the latest scientific thinking into children’s development and learning.
“1st Team Football will avoid prescriptive coaching methods in favour of creating conditions that spark curiosity, stimulate learning and self-discovery.
“We’ll be delivering a style and quality of coaching and development unlike anything currently in the market.”
He holds a UEFA A License and FA Advanced Youth Award, and aside from the two Manchester football giants, his CV also includes scouting and coaching positions at Nottingham Forest, Blackburn Rovers and the Burnley Academy, where he “repeatedly demonstrated success” at the highest level.
Lee said he has handpicked top UEFA-qualified coaching talent for each of the six countries – with those selected having undergone “extensive training”.
Plans in the pipeline for 1st Team Football also include launching an Athlete Research Centre in Los Angeles – to study key elements of how players best learn to play soccer within a ‘live’ environment
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Lee says: “I’ve personally overseen the recruitment of high level coaches, training, creation of a strong brand and website plus I will be closely monitoring the coaching teams for ongoing evaluation and we’re now at the stage where it’s all being put into action.
“It’s exciting. We have ambitious growth plans. Within the next six months we expect to open up lots more Player Learning Centres.”