Stephen O’Donnell has been confirmed as one of the participants on the FAI’s 2023-2024 UEFA Pro Licence course.
The Lilywhites head coach is one of 20 coaches who will take part in the 18-month course which will include individual learning, micro group activities, club visits, international club visits, student exchanges in UEFA and a personal learning portfolio of all course assignments.
“I’ve been coaching and managing for three years or so now but I’m still very much in the infancy of that sort of career so doing the Pro Licence and learning from other people and garnering more experience from the different modules is something I’m looking forward to,” O’Donnell told dundalkfc.com.
“It’ll be a busy period over the next 18 months or so. My whole focus is obviously on Dundalk, so I’ll have to juggle the two but it’s something I’m looking forward to getting stuck into.
“It’s a chance to see what other coaches and clubs are doing elsewhere and an opportunity to pick up tidbits from some of the people on the course, ex-internationals, the people they would’ve worked with, or the experience they would’ve gathered throughout their playing careers and their coaching careers.
“On the club visits, you get to see how big clubs are run on a day-to-day basis, what their training week entails, bits like that, and that’s really interesting from my point of view.”
O’Donnell will be joined on the course by former Republic of Ireland internationals Colin Healy, David Meyler, Paul McShane, Sean St Ledger and Glenn Whelan, who collectively made 200 senior appearances between them.
Fellow League of Ireland coaches Colin Healy (Cork City), Andy Myler (UCD), Longford Town Gavin Peers (Longford Town), Craig Sexton (Bohemians), Gary Hunt (Waterford), James O’Callaghan (Peamount United) and Laura Heffernan (DLR Waves) will also form part of the Class of 2024 who will seek to join the 116 coaches who have successfully earned the UEFA Pro Licence through the FAI.
“It’s a requirement to have, or be on, the Pro Licence course to manage in the League of Ireland Premier Division whereas I don’t think it is in the lower leagues in England, where the A Licence is sufficient, so that’s good for the game here,” said O’Donnell.
“As a coach, you have your principles and your way of doing things and seeing things but that doesn’t mean there are interesting things or different angles from other people that you can’t also incorporate into your own sphere.”
The 2023/24 FAI UEFA Pro Licence participants are Tim Corcoran, Martin Doyle, William Doyle, Gerard Glynn, James Gow, Colin Healy, Gary Hunt, Laura Heffernan, George Jermy, Paul McShane, Leon McSweeney, David Meyler, Andy Myler, Conor Nestor, James O’Callaghan, Stephen O’Donnell, Gavin Peers, Craig Sexton, Sean St Ledger and Glenn Whelan.