Brentford Assistant First Team Coach Kevin O'Connor was one of 27 men and women celebrating at St. George’s Park this week following their graduation from The FA Level 5 (UEFA Pro) in Coaching Football qualification, after 18-months of hard work. The graduates are also made up of coaching staff from Chelsea, Leicester, Everton, Brighton and Hove Albion, Derby County and Glasgow Rangers. The new English-qualified coaches join an exclusive club of under 400 FA Level 5 alumni including Graham Potter, Sean Dyche, Emma Hayes, Scott Parker, Brendan Rodgers and Gareth Southgate.
The FA Level 5 (UEFA Pro) in Coaching Football course is The FA’s highest football coaching qualification and prepares coaches for the pressure and challenges of modern football management. Everyone on the course is trained to manage media relations, introduced to working with Technical Directors and guided on how to create high-performance club cultures and environments. This preparation for life in management gives every graduate the on and off-the-pitch skills necessary to succeed and adapt to life at the very top of the professional game.
Kevin has been in his current role for just over six months having been with Brentford for approaching 25 years as scholar, player, captain and coach. The long-serving former Club Captain was Brentford B Head Coach for two years and started the qualification when in that role. He stepped up to work with the First Team last December, working with Head Coach Thomas Frank and Assistant Head Coach Brian Riemer.
The female game was well represented in this year's graduates. Lydia Bedford, England Women’s Under-16 coach graduated and will be putting her skills into action with the young Lionesses. Hannah Dingley, Burton Albion academy Head of Coaching, was celebrating too, as she looks to take her learnings back to her young teams. Kevin joined the pair, as well as former Premier League starts Peter Schmeichal and Steven Gerrard among others, in graduating.
Everyone at Brentford FC would like to extend our congratulations to Kevin on his achievement. Former Academy coach Jon De Souza and former player Andy Myers were also among those graduating and the Club offers congratulations to them, and all on the course, as well.
Les Reed, The FA Technical Director, said: “A huge congratulations to each and every one of our graduates. This is just the beginning for this group. There will always be more to learn, different goals to reach and new things to discover - and The FA will always be here to help guide these coaches through football’s ever changing landscape.
Lucy Pearson, Head of FA Education, said: “The FA Level 5 (UEFA Pro) in Coaching Football course is the highest qualification that The FA provides. The success of our graduates in this course is a testament to who they are as coaches, and people.
"During this course, we’ve focused on the challenges in modern football coaching and management - whether that’s dealing with the media, working with the board or managing the day-to-day pressure that surrounds working in football. Now it’s time for these graduates to put that learning into practice and make their mark on the game.
"They’re at the end of an 18-month journey with The FA, but at the beginning of a much bigger journey in their career. We wish them all the luck in the world."
The FA Level 5 (UEFA Pro) in Coaching Football graduates are Aaron Danks (The FA), Adam Barrett (Millwall), Adam Lawrence (Charlton Athletic), Andrew Dawson (Scunthorpe United), Andrew Myers (Chelsea), Benjamin Petty (Leicester City), Christoph Bühler (Schalke), Daniel Searle (Braintree Town), Darren Wassall (Derby County), Hannah Dingley (Burton Albion), James Gilligan (Nottingham Forest), Jonathan De Souza (Colchester United), Justin Cochrane (The FA), Kevin O'Connor (Brentford), Lydia Bedford (The FA), Matthew Hamshaw (Rotherham United), Matthew Taylor (Swindon Town), Michael Harris (Brighton & Hove Albion), Neil Banfield (Rangers), Pat Lyons (Derby County), Paul McGuinness (The FA), Paul Tait (Everton), Peter Schmeichel (Unattached), Scott Rogers (Blackburn Rovers), Simon Hollyhead (Unattached), Steven Gerrard (Rangers), Steven Greaves (Southampton).