Earlier this year, Nathan Watkins joined the Hampshire FA team as Coaching Apprentice for the Hampshire FA Football Academy: a new full-time football and education programme based at Stoneham Lane Football Complex.
We caught up with Nathan for a quick Q&A to find out how he's finding his role with Hampshire FA and the first few months of the Academy's launch…
1. Tell us a bit about yourself…
I started my football scholarship at Eastleigh F.C before heading over to Havant and Waterlooville to progress my football for the next couple of years. Over the three years of doing the Btec Level 3 in Sport course, I developed a lot, and my confidence grew on the pitch as well as off. I then joined Gosport Borough's U23s in March this year, which saw me have a good first season with them earning me a place in the first team during preseason. From there I have managed to make a couple of appearances for the first team and still pushing further on. This season I have also gained valuable experience as a dual signing at Wessex Premier League level.
2. Can you explain what your new role entails?
My role is to assist Lee Burch (Hampshire FA Academy Head Coach) running the Academy based at Stoneham Lane Football Complex, as well as learn every day and improve my coaching skills.
3. What football roles have you been involved with before joining Hampshire FA?
I completed a similar 3-year scholarship programme before, so I have a lot of experience of how the course runs. During the summer of 2021, I also did some of my own one-to-one coaching, which was really successful and helped me as a stepping stone to use before joining the programme as a coach.
4. What attracted you to the role at Hampshire FA and what are you most looking forward to?
What attracted me most to the course was the fact I am able to work under a top class coach in Lee and also the fact I was looking to develop my coaching skills as well as learn even more along the way. What's important is starting a legacy at this progamme and stamping a mark on it to all of the county and beyond.
5. What qualities do you bring to the team and Hampshire FA?
I have a good knowledge and understanding of football, having been coached under top coaches, as well as playing at a good standard. I am someone who wants everyone around me to succeed in their careers, which means I will support every player along their journey with us.
6. Who are your role models/mentors?
My role models are Pep Guardiola as a coach and as a player I look up to Sergio Busquests. I've always loved watching Busquets play as he makes everything look so easy and is one of, if not the most, intelligent player in that position.
7. Most importantly, what team do you support?
Chelsea the Kings of Europe!