SCU executive director Scotty Armstrong receives valuable training at Manchester City

Space Coast United executive director Scotty Armstrong visited Manchester City Football Club in January. He is seen here at the club’s Etihad Stadium.

In January, Space Coast United executive director Scotty Armstrong was one of 18 coaches nationwide invited to undergo coaches training with Manchester City Football Club, renowned for being one of the greatest clubs in the world.

Armstrong was selected by virtue of being one of the highest-licensed coaches in the country with a Puma-affiliated club. Armstrong has earned both his UEFA-A and USSSF coaching certifications and both SCU and MCFC are outfitted by Puma.

“They approached me and said we’d like for you to come so I went with them and the objective was I got a behind-the-scenes look at how Man City developed players from five years old all the way up to the first team,” Armstrong said.

While in Manchester, Armstrong got a look at how the club develops male and female players as part of its system from as early as 5 years old.

“The first day we worked with the U5s, the U6s and the U7s and what we did is we went in watched how they coached their model and how they linked their individual technical model, how players are coached individually to their game model of how they want them to play at that age bracket and how all the training was linked through every age bracket,” Armstrong said. “…. We got to see how and what was being coached at the younger levels and how it was linked at the pro level, It was amazing to see how we could actually start noticing the detail in which they create overloads or in particular a 2 vs. 1 at 7 years old.”

Later in the week, Armstrong had an opportunity to work with players in the U15-U18 ranges and the commonality of what he saw was even more striking.

It’s the only club I’ve been to…. where I’ve seen an identity at 5 years where it goes all the way through to U20,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong sitting in front of the jersey worn by MCFC midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.

Armstrong also got to attend two Manchester City home games at the world-famous Etihad Stadium against Tottenham and Wolves. There, he said he and other coaches on the trip were greeted by family members of the man city plyers and coaching staff.

“We were sitting next to all the players’ families watching the game and it was amazing how the players’ families came over and introduced themselves, talked to us. Pep Guardiola’s family was one box down from us,” Armstrong said.

That level of class and decorum extended to the players at every level, Armstrong said. To that end, he noted that all players there made sure to pick up after training on the pitch or being in the locker room which is an expectation that he is making sure transfers over to SCU.

“Manners cost nothing and so we have that in place,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong also noted that he’s been invited back at another point and that he hopes to bring at least one of his directors with him.

So what might players, parents and coaches see change as a result of this trip?

Well, for one, expect a program that Armstrong has started this year to be expanded.

“I’ve started skill school where one day is totally dedicated to individual technique from eight years old all the way through U-12. We’re going to extend that one day next year to 13s and then we’re going to push it out to U7 & U8.”

SCU Coaches are also going to be equipped with new skills as well.

“I’m restructuring the technical development model for each player. Since I got back, I’ve done three educational classes for the staff,” Armstrong said. “We can’t educate the players until we do a better job educating coaches and the coaches have been really, really receptive to it. I want coaches that want to get better. We’re asking our coaches all the time. How are you transforming yourself and how are you learning more all the time?”

In short, expect to see SCU become even more of a collective.

“I want our teams to have one heartbeat and to be a part of a one club mindset, have one heartbeat and that means anyone in the club, our coaches can walk up to a field and see the same principles of play come out whether they’re 7 years old or 19 years old,” Armstrong added. “We are one heartbeat; we invest the time in developing the individual into the collective idea.”