Welham spends week with West Brom of the EPL

Associate head coach Steve Welham recently visited West Bromwich Albion

Jan. 28, 2013

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Stony Brook, N.Y. - Stony Brook women's soccer associate head coach Steve Welham recently visited the UK for a coaching education experience with West Bromwich Albion of the English Premier League. Welham spent a week with the club learning coaching techniques in training sessions and matches.

"This was one of the best educational opportunities that I have ever had," Welham explained. "I am so thankful for the way the club took me in and treated me. It's something I will never forget."

Welham was granted full access to the club's training ground where he was able to observe practices ranging from the U10 level up to the first-team squad. This afforded Welham the opportunity to learn tactics and philosophies from some of the top soccer minds in the world.

During his visit, Welham was also able to interview three first-team coaches, Kevin Keen, Keith Downing and Dean Kiely, as well as the club's Head of Sport Science, Chris Barnes, and Sporting and Technical Director, Dan Ashworth. The coaches gave Welham fantastic insight on what they look for when identifying talent.

Keen, a Joint-Assistant Head Coach, stressed the importance of a high "soccer IQ" and the mental drive to win, adding that sibling rivalries (being better than your brother or sister) can often drive players to succeed. Joint-Assistant Coach Downing discussed a preference for speed and power on the pitch and mental preparation off the field, noting the ability to bounce back mentally as paramount for development.

Kiely, the club's Goalkeeper Coach, added that consistency, reliability and dependability are three key ingredients for successful players, while Barnes argued that talent is best predicted between the ages of 14-16.

In addition to spending time with the coaching staff and players, Welham also attended two matches at West Brom's home ground, The Hawthorns, including a memorable derby clash against local rival Aston Villa.

"The sheer noise and atmosphere was amazing," Welham said. "West Brom was down at the half, but they came out and dominated in the second half to draw the game level. You could feel the excitement in your chest."

Drawing from his experience, Welham is currently researching and writing his fifth article for publication about talent identification and the development of talent. Welham has previously had four articles published to the NSCAA Journal on the topics of sports psychology and soccer.

Founded in 1878, West Bromwich Albion is located in the West Midlands of England. The club was one of the founding members of The Football League in 1888 and has won five FA Cup titles.  Now under the direction of Manager Steve Clarke, "The Baggies" are enjoying a successful Premiership season with marquee wins over Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea.