08.02.19 ‘’I’m loving every minute!’’ - Glendon Refalo
No stranger to all at Swieqi United, Under 11s and 9s coach Glendon Refalo sat down with SUFC Media for an exclusive interview to discuss his recent coaching endeavours and future milestones.
SUFC: Hello and welcome Glendon! Thanks for taking the time to talk to Swieqi United's Media Team. You've been coaching for approximately three seasons now. How would you describe this experience so far?
GLENDON: I must say that I’m loving every minute of my coaching experience. The kids that I am coaching are an incredible bunch and I am very proud of them. Every individual character offers a different challenge to me as a coach and we are developing together. If I knew that coaching would be this fulfilling I would have certainly started earlier!
SUFC: Given your playing experience, has the transition into coaching been easier for you?
GLENDON: Definitely! I have been involved in football since I was six-years old, so I have been involved in plenty of training sessions. Having played over 150 senior matches has also helped me experience a lot of footballing lessons that I am now passing on to our kids. Therefore, previous experiences helped me a lot but I am also grateful to my coaching colleagues always supported me throughout my fledgling career!
SUFC: Why did you decide to commence your coaching career at Swieqi United?
GLENDON: Swieqi United was a natural choice for me. I had the privilege to represent the club at senior level and have seen this club grow from strength to strength. The sense of community and values echoed by the club are very much the values that I personally embrace so it was an easy decision for me. We genuinely believe in developing the person before the player and for me, looking at life holistically is crucial to the child’s development.
SUFC: Every coach has his role-models. Who are your heroes or mentors?
GLENDON: I believe that we can learn something from everyone. Therefore I do not limit myself to having a footballing icon/hero that I specifically follow. Instead, I absorb as much information as I can from different persons I come across in life. This enables me to look at values and actions rather than persons. Having said that, I must confess that I do admire managers like Brian Clough and Sir Bobby Robson who without lots of funding managed to build championship winning sides with the latter fighting on despite suffering from cancer. He is certainly an inspiration to a lot of people like me!
SUFC: What do you feel are the main ingredients that make a great coach?
GLENDON: A great coach must have different skills to get the best out of his players. Footballing knowledge and a pure love for the game must certainly be the foundations. However, these alone are unlikely to help develop players on a holistic basis. Proper dedication and hard work (to set an example for your players), the ability to motivate, be positive and player management are crucial to get the best from each and every footballer. I also consider communication as a vital ingredient to a successful coach. Above all, I think empathy is a skill that is often overlooked in football. We as coaches tend to get drawn too much into the game and its details/ coaching aspects and sometimes unintentionally find it easy to forget that we are ultimately managing human beings with all their flaws, positives, negative, personal issues and problems. Therefore having empathy is a must to help the player as an individual, before helping him football wise!
SUFC: Do you agree that Maltese children are technically-speaking very talented footballers?
GLENDON: I have full belief in our local players. Even at a young age, I have seen great quality from young footballers in all footballing aspects. However, it seems that local players are currently struggling to keep up their development to challenge the best in Europe for different reasons. Therefore it is my dream to help change this and would love it if I can genuinely help at least one player to fulfil his potential and play in a foreign league. I have confidence that our Maltese players can do much better!
SUFC: And finally, Swieqi United is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. How would you sum-up the club's achievements throughout the past decade?
GLENDON: If I had to sum up these 10 years in one word it would be: miraculous. To set up a club in an area surrounded by established clubs was ambitious in itself. To grow the way the club did in just 10 years is remarkable. The approach of having a sustainable structure ensured the club progressed nicely across all areas. Furthermore the club now has an identity and a certain way of doing things which is envied by a lot of clubs.
SUFC: Thanks Glendon and all the best for the rest of the season!
Interview: Mike Calleja
Photo Credits: Babanov Photography