Broadley: Academy must stay
Derek Broadley insists he will leave Bermuda with his head held high safe in the knowledge that local football is in a healthier condition than when he arrived.
The straight-talking Scotsman bade farewell to the Island yesterday amidst emotions of pride and satisfaction after completing his three-year contract as the Bermuda Football Association's (BFA) technical director.
Other less pleasant emotions were also prevalent; namely regret and frustration at not achieving all his goals due to either time constraints or disagreements with ‘the powers that be'.
But while his no-nonsense style may have ruffled a few feathers, few would question Broadley's professionalism and enthusiasm for player and coaching development.
As for his legacy, he points to the establishment of the Island's first ever National Academy, the restructuring of the domestic game and implementation of the BFA's first in-house training course for local coaches.
Broadley's only hope is that his successor is afforded the freedom to build upon the strong foundations which he believes he has left behind.
“One of my main successes has been the coach education course, that's been my highlight,” said Broadley. “I really hope it's here to stay because it's so important and I know Devarr Boyles (youth director) sees the benefit of it. I think I've delivered more than 800 coach education hours since I've been here.”
The importance of having a full-time National Academy on the Island cannot be underestimated, according to Broadley, who believes it has been instrumental in preparing youth sides for international competition as well as creating a Bermudian style of play.
To tamper with it in any way would almost certainly be to the detriment of developing players, he warned.
“I think the National Academy has been a resounding success. I've told the executive it's something that needs to stay,” he said.
“It's the best practice around the world, everyone's doing it and to try and change it in any shape or form would have a negative impact on player development.”
Continuity was a rare commodity during Broadley's stint at the BFA, with him working with three different executives and under two different presidents.
One partnership he would like to remain constant though is the one between the BFA and the Bermuda Hogges.
“I think the Bermuda Hogges are a must. I think the success of the Under-20s (in the recent World Cup qualifiers) was a lot to do with the Hogges. I don't want to use the word ‘foolish' but I think it would be a real shame if that partnership were discontinued.
“It was probably the best bit of business we did while I was here because we had 16 matches, eight home and eight away, for a reasonable price. But (the BFA) need to get cracking because the Hogges season isn't too far away.”
For Broadley, his biggest –frustration is not being able to finish the job he started. He had wanted to extend his stay on the Island for a couple more years, but was told in August by the previous BFA regime his contract would not be extended. Those feelings of what might have been will only be accentuated when Bermuda's next World Cup qualifying campaign rolls around.
“I was lucky enough to be part of Bermuda's World Cup qualifiers in 2008 when Kenny Thompson's side beat Trinidad away.
“That was a fantastic night that will live long in the memory. I still think we could have got a result on the home leg if we'd have had the infrastructure we have in place now.
“I would have loved to have seen how much progress was made during my time at TD and the next qualifiers would have been a fairly good benchmark. I guess I'll never know now because several things could happen which may influence football positively or negatively.”
Another of Broadley's disappointments is the lack of progress made in the women's game. Rather than address the root course of the problem, the BFA have continually covered the abrasion with band aids instead, he said.
“Women's football is at a real crossroads. When I first got here I recommended they lower the age group to 14 but the executive at that time didn't want to do it,” Broadley said.
“I regret that because we've wasted a lot of time. I don't think the new structure which has –taken women's game away from the clubs has fixed the problem either.
“For women's football I think the Island Games needs to be our level at the moment.
“The previous player development committee was too ambitious and wanted us playing US colleges. It's hard to introduce a game style when you're battling to stay in games.”
n See tomorrow's paper for Broadley's views on his successor, and how the BFA should combat their recent budget cut.