Jim McGuinness to begin ‘A’ licence as former Donegal boss reveals soccer ambition

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Former Donegal manager Jim McGuinness has revealed his desire to manage a professional soccer club – and will begin his UEFA ‘A’ Licence in July.

McGuinness began working with Celtic in 2012. Having been employed initially as a performance consultant with the Glasgow giants, McGuinness is now taking a hands-on approach with the club’s youth teams and is the assistant manager of the U20 team at Parched.

The Glenties man was hired by Celtic not long after winning the All-Ireland with Donegal in 2012. McGuinness turned Donegal’s water into wine, taking them from serial no-hopers into an All-Ireland winning side, adding three Ulster titles and another All-Ireland final appearance in a golden four-year spell.

Now, could McGuinness be about to embark into the ultimate change of codes?

“I just want to keep on going, keep on progressing and see if I’ve got the capacity,” he said yesterday at the launch of Sky Sports’ 2017 GAA coverage. “But I’d like to maybe at some stage take control of a team myself, whether that’s the young lads within the academy or whatever. I’d like to get out the other side in terms of my own philosophy.

“I’m coming from a Gaelic culture, everything i did in my life was in that environment. So you could go into another environment and hit the wall, or you could develop and keep on growing. So that’s half of the fascination if you like.”

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McGuinness has taken some coaching badges already and has been at clubs such as Manchester City and Bayer Leverkusen as part of his learning, while he has examined closely teams like Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Athletic Bilbao.

In July, McGuinness will start his ‘A’ Licence as he continues a rapid ascent up soccer’s coaching ladder.

McGuinness said: “That will take a year to complete and in the process of that year, I will study the game as much as possible.

“There are quite a number of teams and managers that I am looking at, and what they are doing and how they are doing it in line with my own vision.

“I want to tick those boxes over the next 12 months and put myself in a position at the end of the year, if I get the badge, that I will be more comfortable how I see the game myself.”

Once McGuinness has his ‘A’ Licence completed, he would be able to manage any team outside the top flight and leaving him with only his Pro Licence to complete.

Sports writer from St Johnston, now based in Letterkenny, with ten years' experience covering sport in Donegal. Was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.

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