Ex-Premier League coach shows locals some new skills

AN EX-PARACHUTE Regiment officer, who spent 10 years as a Premier League Academy coach, has set up his own football club to give recognition to potential players in North Somerset.

Chris Palmer, aged 58, of Hambledon Road, St Georges, Weston, said he set up his club, Inter Soccer, because he loves to see the development of new players, compared to watching the elite.

He said: “When one of the children masters the techniques, the smile on their face is priceless, and you can’t replicate that. Then they feel they can take on the next challenge and the next.”

Chris holds weekly sessions for aspiring football players in Weston and Nailsea but before his years of coaching, he also spent 18 months in the Merchant Navy before joining the Parachute Regiment to combat his fear of heights.

He said: “I had a thing for heights so I joined them to over-come it, and it doesn’t freak me out as much now. Without a doubt these experiences have helped me with my coaching skills.”

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Chris started his own club in 1997, after his time as a Premier League coach, with Southampton Football Club. He said what triggered this was watching elite players from all over the world, and noticing a big difference between the technical abilities of players from Spain and Real Madrid compared to players from England.

He said: “We were so far behind and it was noticeable. I decided at that moment that the lads I coached would be confident about playing against anyone from abroad and had their own skills to show too.”

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Throughout his coaching career, Chris has worked with stars such as Gareth Bale, when he was 13 years old, who plays for Spurs and Wales, and coaches such as Josh Holt.

Chris said: “It’s not an easy path; the number of those that did not make it far outweighed those that did. Before, players had to be the best in the UK, now they have to be the best in the world.”

Chris decided to set aside the elites, and take up coaching closer to home. He said: “I wanted to help those children who found it hard to get recognition in their local clubs. There is nothing worse than being on the sidelines.

“There are no mistakes, just learning opportunities. I think local groups are often just looking for large positions and that affects the way they think, but I prefer to concentrate on the individual.

“And if in 10 years, this club is still benefitting local football then I will be happy.”

Chris coaches at Priory School, Weston every Thursday and at the Scotch Horn leisure centre in Nailsea every Monday and Friday at 4.30pm.

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