Richie Holland on nurturing young talent with Cork City

Graham Cummins talks to the Bandon native who started on the path to coaching in his late teens
Richie Holland on nurturing young talent with Cork City

Richie Holland, Cork City assistant manager

CORK CITY assistant manager Richie Holland admits that although his aim was always to be a professional footballer, that he is enjoying his career path as a coach.

Holland, who represented City at U21 level before being released by the club and pursuing a career as a coach, said:

“Going back to the start; I was actually here at the club at U21 level as a player. There used to be an U21 competition for League of Ireland teams. I played under Stuart Ashton and didn’t quite make the grade to get a professional contract.

“From a young age, I was always interested in football. I came from a footballing family. So, from a young age I always wanted to do coaching.

“I would have started with my local club Bandon. I was coaching my first team at 18 or 19, so I was coaching at a very young age. As time progressed, I got more experience and got more involved in coaching. I invested more time and finance in developing as a coach.

“Growing up, my aim was always to be a professional footballer, but being assistant manager with Cork City is probably the next best thing.”

BAD NEWS

It’s not always an easy job being a coach in football. Often coaches and managers are the people that have to tell players they may not be good enough to fulfill their dream of becoming a pro. That they may have to explore different avenues in their life.

Holland sees these conversations as quite difficult, but his aim is always to try and help players out no matter what career route they go down.

“It can be very difficult having a conversation with a player when they’re about to be released from a club. It’s not an enjoyable part of coaching. 

I’ve had experiences dealing with the U19 players in the past, but what we do try to do is that we always try to look after players who don’t quite make it and give them advice about their futures, and always be there as a reference for them.

“Whether that’s to try and contact another club for them or be a reference for a job outside of football.

“I try to draw on my own experiences when talking to lads. I don’t tell them they should get into coaching or what they should do.

“I just tell him that’s the path I took and that I had been in a similar situation in the past, but obviously, my main aim is to just help the lads out and to be there for them if they do contact me needing help.”

In football, talented players can sometimes be labelled as lazy, players that don’t work hard for the team, but Holland sees this as a challenge to motivate the more talented players to work just as hard as everyone else in the team.

“I enjoy working with all types of players. I suppose the first thing I always ask of lads is that they work hard. I’ve seen players in the past that just refuse to work hard and they don’t make it as a result, even though they would have loads of talent.

“I do enjoy working with players that are blessed with talent and sometimes aren’t willing to work hard for the team.

“For some people that may not be their type of player, but I would say it is my job then to motivate and coach the player to work harder for the team rather than just give up on him.”

For now, Holland is focused on continuing to improve as a coach, but one day in the future, the City assistant manager has ambitions to become a manager.

“I’m always looking at ways to improve, and I’m big into coaching behaviours.

“I’m doing my masters at the moment in UL on Sports Coaching. In the future; I would like to manage a team, but am I ready now? I wouldn’t say so.

“I’m still learning and I enjoy coming to work every day and working with Colin Healy and the group of lads. It’s great here because we video training sessions. We always have little reflections after, and we will try and improve all the time.

“We know that next season is a big year for us and will be looking to improve over the coming weeks, and hopefully aim to get a few more new faces in the door.”

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