During pre-season, former PASE academy player Charles Nichol returned to the club in a coaching role, having recently completed his UEFA B coaching badges with the FAI (Irish football Association).
Nichol originally joined the club at 16-years-old, where he played in the famed BW PASE academy, while completing a BTEC in sport. His rise through the coaching ranks, and subsequent return to the club is yet another success story for PASE.
Having completed his time with the club, Nichol moved to Loughborough in order to study for the next stage of his career, a BTEC Level Three Sports Diploma.
On his journey, Nichol commented: “After finishing at secondary school, I wanted to do something more related to football and the PASE academy was the ideal option alongside a BTEC in Sport, it meant that I could get involved with playing football, while completing a course in sport that I loved.
“I moved onto Loughborough after completing my time here and got my BTEC level three, I was there for two-years.
“I got good grades from it and managed to get into coaching, one of my tutors at Loughborough was an ex-player with Leicester City, Steve Wilkinson, and he arranged for me to help coach his community girls group, the Loughborough Foxes.”
Following on from this, the former PASE player completed his UEFA B coaching badges in Ireland, which involved two intense, week-long blocks, one in December 2016, and another the following January.
Alongside him on the course were numerous budding coaches, and a well-known Republic of Ireland international.
“The first week that we were there, they wanted to see how we coached,” Nichol continued. “We spent a lot of time on various different structures, seven-a-side matches, and then nine-a-side.
“I was on the course with former Leicester City defender Sean St Ledger, who played for Republic of Ireland, he actually scored in the Euros for them. It was great to have him around, and to work with him.
“The tutors we had all work with the republic of Ireland national youth teams, the under 17s, 18s and 19s. It was great to have them on board because they could advise you on how to progress and they are always there and helpful, they are just a call away.”
Nichol passed with flying colours, and then spent time gaining coaching experience on a voluntary basis with Boreham Wood. It was from here that a dream return to the club began to gather pace.
Nichol will divide his time between various different duties, including analyst work for the first team. He will also be returning to the PASE academy to assist with coaching, alongside Micky Engwell and he help with community work.
He continued: “I came back for pre-season and was in-and-around the first team and we were talking about me doing the role of a sporting analyst, as I had experience of that during my UEFA B.
“We had been taught on a software called Huddle and I was using that to analyse games as part of my assignments for my UEFA B.
“I had a meeting with Luke Garrard and the Chairman and have since been offered a contract to assist that, alongside various other roles.
“It was such an easy choice to return here, as soon as I discovered the opportunity I jumped at it.
“It feels like home, when I was here four years ago and Megan Reid was the Physio, Luke Garrard, was here, the groundsmen were here, it is just like being at home.”
His progression proves that PASE offers its players a vast variety of different routes into football, whether it be playing, educational or coaching.
Nichol enthused: “I couldn’t have done any of this without PASE, it was hugely influential for my progression to Loughborough and beyond.
“The club bring through so many people, in so many different roles, like Ben Goodliffe for example, who was just gone to Wolves. There are players and coaches who started here at all different levels.
“England colleges, professional, and semi-professional footballers, and there are now PASE players who have moved into coaching, the possibilities of PASE are endless.”