20 Feb 2019
Get to know James Hagerty

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How long have you been involved in your sport / activity? I started playing football when I was 5 years old in the UK.

Did you play or represent in your sport/activity? To what level? Yes, I played for a number of teams with the highest level that I competed in was for my county. A county is similar to state in America, but is slightly smaller.

What was your training schedule like? Did you practice every day? At school I practiced twice a week, plus two sessions a week for my team outside of school.

What is your fondest memory of playing / being involved in this activity? I liked the social aspect of football. It was great meeting new people who I either played with or against. Some of the boys I played with when I was younger are some of my closest friends now.

What unexpected obstacles have you had to overcome this in your sport / activity? There are millions of children that want to become a professional, unfortunately I was not one of the players that made it. This is difficult to deal with when your dream is to become a footballer, but I have the next best job now.

Why are you interested in this activity? Football is one of the only sports that unifies people from all walks of life. People from different countries, races and religions all come together around the world to cheer on their team and forget about any problems that they have in their life for 90 minutes. You cannot predict what is going to happen and every match is different, excuse the cliche.

What is your current title and how long have you held this title? I am the Chelsea FC IDC Singapore Football Development Officer (UWCSEA East). I have been in this particular role since September 2017, based in the coaches office alongside my team of coaches and the swimming team located in the sports complex. My role is to manage the operations of all the activities that Chelsea FC deliver in Singapore with the fantastic help of the Activities department and all of the superb Chelsea FC coaches.

What are your 3 greatest successes to date?

  1. Working for the Football Club that I supported since I was a child for nearly 10 years.

  2. Obtaining my UEFA B License & Undergraduate degree before I was 21 years old.

  3. Building the Chelsea FC IDC Bangkok from its creation in August 2015 - July 2017 into a not-for-profit sustainable business. As well as growing the workforce from 4 coaches to a team of office & coaching staff (over 10 members).

What is most satisfying about your work right now? Part of my role includes planning activities for minority groups and hard to reach children. We have recently coached sessions for children with both physical and intellectual disabilities. The positivity reception that we received from the children who participated in the sessions was a pleasure to see.

What is the greatest challenge you have ever had to overcome in your career? I was first approached by Chelsea FC to travel globally when I was 22 years old. I was asked to live in South Korea for 6 months alongside another member of staff. Having to work remotely, away from friends and family for the first time (especially at a young age) was difficult at first. However once I immersed myself into the local culture and working environment, I thoroughly enjoyed my time. Since then I have lived away from the UK in Thailand and now Singapore so I have overcome the challenge and relish the opportunity to see the world and work in fantastic locations.

What is the best advice you have ever received? What advice would you give to our students? Focus on your own journey. Don’t get too worried about comparing yourself to others and their academics, sporting ability or anything else as you are living different lives. You will experience different successes and challenges in your time that will mould your future. Enjoy!

Can you give us three words that best describe how you feel about your profession? Passion, adaptability & competitive.

Who is the icon that has influenced you the most? When I started my career in football coaching, Jose Mourinho was the Chelsea FC manager - this was before I started working for the club and was just a supporter. He proved that you did not have to be an ex-pro to make it to the top of the game and inspired me on my journey.

Interviewed by Jessica Pigram and Jilyn Seah, Activities Department, East Campus.