By Victor Munoz
It’s only natural that Jack Gidney is a soccer coach at CSUDH. After all, when you are born in England, the birthplace of the beautiful game, not playing or otherwise not being involved in the sport is about as sinful as you can get.
“Soccer in England is like your religion,” said Gidney, who is in his first year as an assistant coach for the Toros. He worked with new interim Toro head coach Sean when Lockhart was coach of the Palos Verdes High School men’s team, helping lead the school to three league titles and a CIF Southern Section Division II crown.
Like many English youths, Gidney dreamed of playing professional soccer, but after two knee injuries, that dream shifted into coaching.
Gidney injured both his knees at age 15 when he fell down a flight of stairs. Then, in 2004, at the age of 16, he moved to Los Angeles and attended Bishop Montgomery High School. His senior year, Gidney injured his left knee again.
“After I injured my left knee I was asked if I wanted to help coach the JV team and I got a feel for it,” said Gidney.
After his senior year, Gidney at 19 decided to return to England to gain knowledge in coaching.
“When I left [the U.S.] to go back home, I did an 18-month coach apprenticeship with my uncle at Sunderland [an English Premier League team, one of the most renowned soccer leagues in the world],” Gidney said. “At the club, I did everything I could to learn about teaching the game and become the best coach I could possibly be. Because it’s not just about what you know but how you portray it and envision it.”
With Sunderland, Gidney observed the training of the first team, reserve team and all youth teams.
In order to keep his visa, two years later, Gidney returned to the U.S. In the U.S., Gidney had the opportunity to work with another Premier League Team, Manchester City, one of England’s top professional soccer franchises.
Gidney was a junior advisor to the 2011 USA preseason tour of Manchester City. He assisted by finding a training camp, with technical stuff and was on the field with the coaching staff.
Besides being an assistant coach for the CSUDH men’s soccer team, Gidney, 30, serves as the girl’s director for FRAM Soccer Club, a development club in Palos Verdes, and has been head coach of AJAX since 2017, which competes in the Women’s Premier Soccer League.
“Coaching the women in America is great because when you coach the men in England you are coaching some of the best in the world, and in the women’s game if you coach American women you are coaching the best in the world,” Gidney said.
Although a good amount of his family members have pursued a pro path in soccer, Gidney is not unhappy that his path has led to coaching at the college level and younger ages.
“My goal [as a coach] has always been to work with the youth,” Gidney said. “You get to see the work you put in and the product. You get to see something start from A and finish at B and it’s nice to be part of that process.”
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