This week our manager, Scott Ruscoe, has been offered a place on the highly prestigious UEFA Pro Licence course, run by the FAW. We caught up with Scott this evening for an in-depth insight into his personal experience and perspective on the process and journey so far.
Scott, first of all congratulations on being accepted. For those who aren’t aware what goes on behind the scenes in the role of a manager or a coach, tell us, what qualifications do you have to date?
Thank you. I’ve got the Leaders Award, the C Certificate, the B Licence, A Licence Youth, A Licence Senior. Now the next step is the Pro Licence, which is the highest one that you can achieve.
All that sounds very impressive. How important is the Pro Licence?
The Pro Licence is the pinnacle of the coaching education route. It’s a prestigious award and the course only happens every two years in Wales, with just 16-20 people being accepted. For me personally, it’s fantastic to get on the course. It’s working with coaches at the highest level, including some who have also played at the top as well.
Some are in Premier League Academies, whether domestically or abroad they’ve all got aspirations to work at as high a level as possible. For me, it’s about testing myself and being in a position to learn as much as I can from the very best educators that the Welsh system has to offer.
It’s a tough course to get on. Anyone can apply but how strict is the criteria to actually make it?
I first applied a couple of years ago but I wasn’t successful, but then we did have two Pro Licence coaches at the club, and obviously two A Licences as well. Your club does take priority in the pecking order when they do give these places out and to be the head coach, manager or in pole position at your club in the JD Welsh Premier League, then you do need to have a Pro Licence going into the following season.
All the JD WPL clubs, if the managers don’t have the Licence already then they are on the list for this course. I’m not sure on the exact numbers who applied, there could be sixty, seventy, as many as a hundred, but there are just the 16-20 spaces available, that I mentioned earlier.
You also have the final interview stage and I’m sure that some missed out there as well. It’s a privilege and I’ve already been looking forward and I’ve thought about where I want to go on my study visit, if that’s what they do again this time round. It’s something that you can take back and talk to your coaching peers about.
It’s an eighteen month course, it’s no quick fix. It’s something that has to be spread out over a year and a half. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into it.
So you put your application in, you go through the process and then the final round is the interview. There are some familiar faces on the panel, I guess friendships have to be put to one side. How formal is the interview?
Yes, it’s very formal. You put your application in and you have a time where you go and it’s over a couple of hours. There were six people on the panel including Carl Darlington, Osian Roberts, Andrew Howard and Dave Adams. You’ve got people there who are at the top of their game.
Darlo is in charge of all coaching education for Wales. Just because I’ve worked under him and then been his assistant when he was first team coach (at TNS), I wouldn’t say those things are forgotten about but he can’t use that influence to get me on the course. It’s all down to what TNS need, what the league needs and if Scott Ruscoe is good enough to get on that course.
The interview process included a ten minute presentation on why I felt I’m suitable for a place on the course. I planned that and made sure every bit of detail was included. I made sure that no stone was left unturned and that they were looking at me thinking he’s an ideal candidate and one that deserves a place on the course.
Then it was a task along with three other coaches, looking at your management skills, how you think on your feet and your communication and presentation skills. It was roughly two hours in total. They want to know what you would do in situations with your club regarding your assistant manager, your first team coach, goalkeeping coach etc.
They want to see who influences your career, why you feel you should be on the course and what gives you something different compared to everyone else who wants to be on there. I’d done my homework to make sure I’d be OK on the day and I thought I did quite well. I made sure I pushed myself and I made sure I was more forthcoming.
I’m probably a laid-back character and don’t always take the lead but in the group task I took the lead and made sure that they could see that I wasn’t there just to make the numbers up.
You’re the manager of The New Saints, away from the game you have a young family, this is eighteen months of hard work ahead for you. How are you going to fit it all in?
On the course you don’t stay away for more than two days at a time, apart from the final six-day stint towards the end. It’s only a couple of days, it’s not going to be a problem as it’s a Sunday and a Monday. It means I’m only away for one night so it’s not a problem. Just one day of training will be missed and Monday is usually a gym day and recovery day after the weekend.
So as far as the first team is concerned, everything will be covered, we’ll be fine. You’re away from home for a few days but it’s important for the family that when you go on these courses to make sure they’re OK.
It’s important that you’re on the rise, that you’re not standing still. Coaching education is important, I’ve been involved in it and I still am. It’s an area that I put a lot of effort into and it’s one that I want to continue into the future as well.
My role at TNS is first and foremost and that’s what I concentrate on but I need to be educated, pushed and challenged, to bring all the new ideas and the new positives back to the football club. Essentially it’s the football club that matters the most.
I’m excited to be on the course and looking forward to meeting new people and making me better, that’s the main thing.
Scott, thank you for your time. Everyone at the football club is proud of your managerial career so far and to get on the course is a great achievement and everyone is behind you.
“We are all extremely delighted that Scott has been invited to attend the UEFA Pro Licence course with the FAW. The club’s policy to promote from within has certainly paid dividends as we are on the cusp of our seventh successive title with Scott in charge.
Scott, who started his coach education journey whilst still playing for the club is the ideal model of the ‘modern coach’ and through his knowledge and experience of playing and coaching within the game at European level will no doubt add some real quality to this year’s intake.”
Ian Williams, Chief Operating Officer at The New Saints FC
Lead photograph: Scott at last Saturday’s game against Connah’s Quay Nomads. Credit: Brian Jones.