Gold Coast Football Academy - International Ambassadors
Since it's inception, the Academy has strived to build relationships that would further the interests of players attending the Academy.
We are absolutely delighted and honoured to have the following persons, who all have distinguished playing and coaching careers behind them, agree to become our International Ambassadors and represent the interests of the Gold Coast Football Academy worldwide.
These well respected individuals have witnessed what this Academy, and the development of its players is about, and they enthusiastically endorse and support our efforts to develop our player to their fullest potential.
The Academy is proud that such illustrious players have endorsed it’s methodology and are truly honoured to be associated with these internationally respected individuals.
Our first International Ambassador is Asa Hartford of Scotland.
During his playing career Asa played at West Bromich Albion, Manchester City, Nottingham Forest, Everton and Norwich City to name a few.
Asa also represented his country and was a regular in the national side. He participated in their World Cup campaigns before being inducted into the Roll of Honour in the Scottish Football Hall of Fame for achieving fifty caps for Scotland in the World Cup 1982 in Spain.
A gifted and talented midfielder with a knack for scoring goals, (he scored the winner for Norwich City in the 1985 League Cup final) Asa went on to take up management and coaching positions with several clubs including Blackburn Rovers, Stoke City and Manchester City. He now represents Norwich City as a scout.
Asa thoroughly believes in the Academy’s philosophy and methodolgy in developing our players to their fullest potential. He has witnessed first hand how application, discipline, dedication and desire can allow our players to break into the highest standards of English football.
“I love the work that the Academy is doing with their players and how they are developing these youngsters. Every player who works hard and holds that vision and passion deserves that chance. And I know that the work that the Academy are doing with their player development models can give them that opportunity. It’s a fantastic effort by Gary, Sam and the guys.”
Our next International Ambassador that we are thrilled to introduce is Len Cantello, of England
Len started his playing career with West Bromich Albion and managed to secure over 300 appearances for the team in his eleven year tenure at the club.
Len was a combative yet very skillful midfielder who was as good with the ball as any of his competitors of his day. He and Asa played in the same West Brom side with Len ‘anchoring’ the midfield. He didn’t score many goals but boy when he did... (Check out his contender for goal of the season against Manchester United.)
Len then moved on to Bolton Wanderers where he spent three years and made 90 appearances. Len also played for Bury, Hereford United and Dallas Tornadoes in the North American Soccer League before transferring to the Dutch side Sporting Club Cambuur, in 1983. A respected former player and highly experienced coach, Len views the Gold Coast Football Academies approach as being one of the best. Shortly we hope to announce even more exciting plans for our player development model involving Len and his staff.
“You have to teach them more than drills. You have to teach them what the game is about. I’ve done that with players I have coached and the Academy are doing that too. It’s so important, especially in today’s game. The Academy is right on track to producing quality youngsters who’ll be able to make the best of their opportunities. That's what it's about. Gary and Sam know that. We know that they know that. We've seen the results of their model and that's why we are developing our professional relationship with the Gold Coast Football Academy.”
Billy, a member of the England coaching staff for the 2010 season with England Under 16, Under 17 and Under 19 squads and an England FA coach educator who worked with the Northern Ireland Under 17, Under 19 and Under 21 national squads in 2011.
Billy is former Liverpool FC Academy coach. He worked under Rafael Benitez, one of the most famous coaches in the world during his time at Liverpool and is a highly experienced coach and mentor to young players in their development.
The Gold Coast Football Academy has a strong relationship with Billy and have uitilised his professional experience and training facilities over a few years now to great effect. Billy is highly supportive of the Academy approach to overall player development and our relationship continues to grow. He fully endorses the Academy approach and methods.
'Our goal is to discover and develop talented players who have the potential to go on and play professional football both here in the UK and elsewhere around the world. We also help international based players to demonstrate and show their talent in the UK and guide them on their journey of pursuing their dreams. I admire the Gold Coast Football Academy's approach to player development and we have worked hard recently to strengthen that relationship. Our journey is just beginning and I look forward to working with Gary, Sam and the players in what I know will be a long lasting and highly productive relationship. Well done guys.'
Another of our International Ambassadors that we are proud to introduce is Yang Cheng, of China.
Yang Cheng is currently involved with Shandong Luneng Football Club in the Chinese Premier Super League where he has been located since 2002.
A gifted and talented keeper Yang Cheng has won many honours in the game including winning the Chinese Premier Cup, the Chinese FA Cup as well as the Chinese Premier League. He has represented Shandong Luneng in the AFC Champions League and also been selected to represent his country at both Olympic and International levels. And Yang Cheng was an avid supporter of the Gold Coast Football Academy’s participation in the prestigious Invitational Weifang Cup, held at in Weifang in 2012.
He believes in the work of the Academy and it’s approach to producing quality, technical players that can compete in professional football at all levels. He is truly aware of the importance that players have the technical skills to compete in the modern game. He endorses the Academy’s efforts in teaching and educating the players to a higher standard and looks forward, with enthusiasm. to a long standing relationship with the Gold Coast Football Academy.
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