People First, Player Second

With Matt Craddock

Can you tell us about your journey in sport as a child?
As a child, I played all the sports. I was okay in school, but I played everything. In terms of football, I was born in August so I could actually play in two age groups – which was brilliant because I would play on Saturday and Sunday.

I played in a Centre of Excellence until the age of 16, but nothing came of it so I went to college, and they had a football academy – which was the second-best thing for me which was really good because I was able to train everyday.

At the end of college, that was it. I didn’t really know what to do. There wasn’t anything happening football wise that I could make a career out of so I went to university in Leeds to study Sports Science and Physiology. It gave me some time to learn and experience different things and when I finished my degree, I decided that I wanted to be involved in coaching, preferably football – but that felt like a bit of a dream.

Anyway, I got myself a role with a local authority doing community sports coaching. This gave loads of experience in a variety of different areas and the boss I had at the time recognised that people were coming in who were ambitious and wanted to develop would hit a glass ceiling and have to move on. So, she provided pathways within coaching and essentially created roles that would be a progression for you. And each time you got yourself a new role, you were given a bit more responsibility.

She was really good with things like that and it kept me there for five years and I got my UEFA B License while I was there too, which then opened the door to coaching within a Centre of Excellence. I was then offered a role with The FA and following that, moved into my role now at Preston North End.

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