As many in our community would know, Waverley College recently launched the Manchester City Football School to provide authentic and creative football coaching programs for students, utilising the coaching philosophy and methodology of Manchester City.
We’re excited to introduce Manchester City Football Schools Head Coach Australia, Mr Ben Charlton, who has joined us full-time to coach across the College with our co-curricular staff, mentor our co-curricular football staff and run the Manchester City Football School.
For someone who has delivered numerous successful football education programs in professional clubs across the globe, Mr Charlton is surprisingly humble when talking about his 18 years’ experience working in sports development. Quietly spoken with a thoughtful disposition, we were grateful that amidst the bustle of Week 2, he made time to share a little about his life with Nurrunga.
Welcome to Waverley, Mr Charlton. Could you tell us what you are most looking forward to in coaching our students?
“How Australians play football and interpret the game. Especially during the winter season and winter fixtures. The students I’ve met have been great and have all the right ingredients – they’re enthusiastic, respectful, friendly, and whether this can translate into their training, competing and winning – is the real interesting thing. We’re hoping they’ll be able to participate in the ‘Australia Manchester City Football Schools Cup’ at Parade College in Melbourne [EREA school] to celebrate what they’ve done, later this year.”
Why did you choose to come to Australia?
“I love to travel and I’d always wanted to go to Australia, as it’s the furthest away from England! It was on my ‘to do’ list and like the English, Australians love sports and football. For the last few years I’ve been hearing great things from the coaches that are involved in the Australia programs in Edmund Rice schools and I wanted to experience the Edmund Rice partnership with kids in Australia. This partnership will be five years and we hope to extend and create a continuous pipeline. In only eight days in Australia everything has lived up to my expectations. The people have been so nice. I just did the Bondi to Coogee walk and harbour walks … in terms of location, everyone says it’s a ‘dream job.’ ”
Could you talk a little about your working background?
“I’ve been with Manchester City Football Club since 2015, working in their Football Education Team, leading training experiences in Manchester at the City Football Academy for ages eight to adult. People travelled to us from all over the world, including Australians, to train on the field and learn tactics in the classroom. I also coached with the Manchester City Girls’ Academy focusing on our foundation and youth development players.
As well I was Head Coach of the Indian Football Schools Operations for two years at Karjat near Mumbai, and also developed talent in Vietnam, Thailand, China and New York, mainly youth football, university teams and training local coaches in schools. I was also the Head Coach in Cairo, Egypt and trained kids as young as three up to 18. I’ve been really lucky to have had these opportunities with Manchester City, I learned a lot and really enjoyed coaching people from many different cultures, and I really look forward to working here in Australia with Waverley college and Edmund Rice – we all speak football!”
What inspires you most about being a coach?
“It’s good to know you have an influence on other people’s lives and you’ve guided others. When I was young, I loved athletics and football and I think these experiences have shaped my values and ways of thinking. Some of the players I trained have gone on to be selected for the national team in England and India, and awarded scholarships for higher education. Being able to return to work with these students now they’re adults, has been really nice.”
What do you do to unwind? Do you turn to sport?
“I do like sport, but I’m getting a little creaky! [laughs]. I like the outdoors and nature. I loved travelling in India and Egypt – there are fascinating things in India in the middle of the jungle. 90 minutes from Mumbai there are monuments carved into rock from 3,000 years ago, incredible precision and geometry. You think … how did they do it? I’m very interested in ancient cultures and have done a lot of travelling. With my wife, we work hard, and then go away to places. I loved the Great Wall of China and also the north east of England, Newcastle and Northumberland. From York to the top of England to the border of Scotland, there are tons of castles, some in ruins and others with gardens and intact buildings. It’s fascinating.”
Launching in 2024 for Year 7 and Years 5 and 7 for 2025 and beyond, click HERE to view further information about Manchester City Football School.