Friday, November 30, 2012

On the job mentoring

Fritz Schmid (left) with Austrian head coach Marcel Koller
Sam Schweingruber may be a FIFA coaching instructor for grassroots football, but he's not afraid to admit he's got a lot to learn as head coach of Phnom Penh Crown. Despite his involvement with Cambodian football at different levels over the past decade, the Crown job is his toughest yet and he is learning 'on the job' whilst applying the principles that have served him so well in the past six years with the SALT Academy and other roles. Giving him a helping hand is fellow Swiss national, and current assistant coach of the Austrian national team, Fritz Schmid, who will be spending a couple of weeks with Sam and the Crown club from 8 December, as part of a 1-to-1 mentoring program. Schmid is no stranger to Cambodia, having coached grassroots coaches here in his capacity as a FIFA instructor, as well as given his free time to help the SALT Academy. He has also worked in tandem with Sam at three coaching workshops in the past. Schmid, who is an expert at fitness, sports medicine and injury rehabilitation, has a coaching CV of considerable experience, having been a FIFA and UEFA instructor for more than twenty years as well a coach with top teams such as FC Basel (where they won 4 league championships and 4 cups in Switzerland), with Zurich Grasshoppers and a brief spell with Tottenham Hotspur. In addition, he's been a sports journalist, a skiing and swimming instructor and now he is number 2 to Marcel Koller with Austria fighting an uphill battle to make the World Cup finals. For Sam, learning from someone like Schmid will be invaluable as he approaches his first season as head coach of a senior team. In addition, the Crown squad will also benefit from the two-week close involvement with a senior European coach.

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