Football coach celebrates world championship glory

Head coach Dan Collins (third-from-left) with several members of the Great Britain team which was victorious at the World Medical Football Championship 2018 in Prague.
Head coach Dan Collins (third-from-left) with several members of the Great Britain team which was victorious at the World Medical Football Championship 2018 in Prague.

A well-respected and successful football coach is celebrating global glory.

Dan Collins was the head coach of the Great Britain team which was victorious at the World Medical Football Championship 2018 in Prague.

He said: “I am immensely proud of the Great Britain players for winning their world championship. I believe the squad worked harder and wanted to succeed more than any other nation in the competition.

“The side has come on in leaps and bounds and really bought into an exciting and aggressive way of playing which served them well in this tournament.

“It takes special commitment to juggle being a doctor and a non-league footballer, so it was perhaps appropriate we won the championships as the NHS celebrated its 70th anniversary.”

The World Medical Football Championship was established in 2006 and has become a very large event in recent years, supported by national tourist boards, played at big stadia in a host city and featuring more than 20 teams from across the globe.

Teams compete in a format much like the World Cup, with group stages and qualifiers progressing into a knockout competition. To reach the final you have to play six games over seven days.

The tournament is open to non-league footballers who are also qualified medical doctors. Most of the top sides will contain two or three former professionals and a number of players who are currently playing semi-professional football to a high level.

The Great Britain team topped its group, which included third seeds Hungary, before beating second seeds Ukraine on penalties in the quarter-finals.

Great Britain then defeated surprise package Australia 1-0 in the semi-finals before beating the hosts, top seeds and winners of the last three tournaments, Czech Republic, 2-0 in the final at the Strahov Stadium.

Following a few years of struggling, the Great Britain side interviewed for a new head coach last year and Catsfield-based Collins landed the job.

Great Britain reached the quarter-finals at his first tournament in Austria in 2017 and then improved to win the competition this year.

Collins was coach at Battle Baptists when the club won the National Christian Cup and East Sussex League Premier Travel Challenge Cup in 2017.

He is also a former Hastings United under-18s coach, as well as coaching in various community schemes and academies. He now works as a full time head of football at an independent school.

“Coaching in an international knockout tournament is a unique experience and one that has really developed me as a coach,” he added.

“My time coaching at Sussex clubs taught me many of the lessons that I needed to succeed with Great Britain Medics, so particular thanks goes to those local clubs and coaches who helped, and still support, my own development.”

See also: Hastings talent triumphs in south east match
St Leonards ace reaches county final
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