Following on from their 2017 success, the Wembley Stallions are forging ahead with plans for the development of the programme.
Chairman Warren Smart told DC,
“We are pleased to announce the appointment of Mathew Clark as Head Coach for the Under 19’s . Coach Clark has a solid Britball coaching background having been head coach of of the Hampshire Thrashers and previously played for Halton Demons, Merseyside Nighthawks (back in their Birkenhead days) and the Wirral Wolves”.
Coach Clark has been involved in football since the first generation of the sport in the 80’s. The former Thrasher applied for a coaching position with the Stallions after seeing the recruitment advertisement on DC. DC asked Coach Clark what attracted him to the Stallions.
“The Stallions are approaching the game, and the sport, in a positive way with a welcoming attitude and a strong set up. I saw that they were looking for additional coaching support and approached the Team Manager (Jackie) and the Head Coach (Warren). They were both very open, honest and welcoming and spent time with me discussing their aims for the club and taking an interest in my goals and needs. After attending a couple of training sessions, I also found the players to be very receptive to coaching and welcoming and everything felt ‘right’.”
“In the past I have been very lucky to find a great local team in the Hampshire Thrashers, when I moved to Southampton, and join a team that I believed tried to play the game in the correct way and welcomed anyone who shared their values. After ‘retiring’ from the Thrashers I took 3 years out and visited a few teams more local to me and observed them from a distance – how they played, how they behaved and the general ‘atmosphere’ surrounding the team.”
Having found a new home at the Stallions, Coach cannot wait to get started and has announced a starting date of Saturday October 7th at 09:30 as the first day of training. This will be open tryouts and the following pre-season training will be announced then.
Coach Clark has also announced early appointments to his coaching staff including the current Spanish National Champions offensive Coordinator, Ignacio “Nach” Ponce. Coach Nach is used to the nine-a-side game because this is the format played in Spain.
“We are excited on the recruitment of two vastly experienced and talented coaches to the U19 programme and will launch the team with an open day and try-outs for U19 and U17”
General Manager Jackie Smart told DC. The club is still looking for coaches as it plans a new season in Division 1 for the Senior team, a Women’s Opal and Sapphire campaign and the Youth & Juniors.
OPEN TRYOUTS FOR U17 & U19 TEAMS.
Saturday October 7th
DC asked Coach Clark some quick fire questions:
When did you first play?
What teams have you played / coached for?
Wirral Wolves – highlights playing at Prenton Park (Tranmere Rovers ground) in front of 500-1000 spectators and playing against an Oregon State All Star High School team
Birkenhead (now Merseyside) Nighthawks – one of the first members of the team – first training session I was one of 5 people there!
Halton Demons – Defensive MVP for 1989 season, Conference winners and playoffs in 1990
Hampshire (now Solent) Thrashers – D-line coach / part time player, Defensive co-ordinator, Head Coach. Reached Division 2 semi-finals three times, two seasons in Division 1
What are your Stallions goals?
- To be accepted as a coach with the team and for people to feel that I have added value.
- To establish the Stallions U19 programme as a successful team
- To help the Stallions achieve their team goals
- To have lots of fun!
What has impressed you about the club so far?
- The organisation and support network that is already in place (e.g. equipment, side-line and support staff, medical support, coaching staff). It really is first class.
- The willingness of the players to accept coaching and work hard to develop – new and experienced players alike
What are your personal aspirations?
- Establish a viable programme
- Win AT LEAST 50% of games in first season
- Challenge for titles in the future seasons
- At least one finals appearance within 3 years
- Recruit heavily in reminder of 2017
- Establish a coaching squad and team approach
- Share my vision
- Train hard, teach fundamentals and attitudes in early 2018
- We currently have around 15 Under 19 eligible players – I’d like to at least double that number – if we go into the season with 25-30 players I think we can make an impact.
Do you have a word to say for your old team?
I will always be a Thrasher (as well as a Stallion hopefully) and will always be grateful for the way they welcomed me to their team and allowed me to rise through their coaching structure to the top. I will always wish them every possible success and hope they continue to develop and progress as a top team.
One thing you’d like everyone to know about you.
Apart from how to spell my name correctly?! One T, no E.
Washington Redskins (chose them in 1983 Super Bowl vs Dolphins)
Favourite NFL Player.
All time : John Riggins (see above!)
Current : don’t really focus on individual players – but Tom Brady, Justin Houston, Tyrann Mathieu, J.J. Watt to name just a few.
Florida State Seminoles
Favourite College Player.
Don’t have one
Since you have been at Stallions which player has impressed you most?
Genuinely there have been too many to mention!! I could easily name 10 or more who have impressed me in training with their attitudes, work ethic and willingness to learn along with a number who have continued to impress in games.
I have been involved as part of a team committee before and I know how hard is to manage everything to field a single team for a season. Here we have senior, women and youth teams. It is really impressive what the Stallions family have achieved in just three seasons.
DC thank Coach Clark (no E) for his time and wish him the best of luck in the build up to the 2018 season!