South Shields FC Foundation welcomes apprentice coach to club

Zak Turner-Cooke, centre, with SSFC head of youth performance and development Jamie Williams, left, and youth performance and development manager Wess Brown, right.
Zak Turner-Cooke, centre, with SSFC head of youth performance and development Jamie Williams, left, and youth performance and development manager Wess Brown, right.

South Shields Football Club’s community programme has created its first job.

The South Shields FC Foundation has appointed of Zak Turner Cooke, 18, who will work as an apprentice coach for the next 15 months.

Zak Turner-Cooke, centre, with SSFC head of youth performance and development Jamie Williams, left, and youth performance and development manager Wess Brown, right.

Zak Turner-Cooke, centre, with SSFC head of youth performance and development Jamie Williams, left, and youth performance and development manager Wess Brown, right.

Zak, from South Shields, is no stranger to the Foundation, having regularly helped run holiday courses as a volunteer coach and the club say that, when the opportunity came about to create an apprenticeship, he was an obvious choice.

The club say it hopes to help him to grow as a coach and improve his long-term employability prospects.

Zak’s apprenticeship is being delivered in partnership with Gateshead Council - and the club hope it will become a recognised career pathway in the future for young coaches.

His role will centre around the organising coaching for Foundation players and helping the club’s volunteer coaches to develop and improve their programmes and practice - especially for the younger aged teams.

He will also be shadowing coaches Jamie Williams and Wess Brown at the Mortimer Futures Academy and will act as a link between current Academy players and the club’s under-12 Foundation teams.

South Shields FC Foundation manager Steve Camm said: “Zak has already made his mark and is a hit with our under-seven players and parents.

“His enthusiasm and positive manner with young players is both welcomed and infectious.

“He will also be supporting the creation and delivery of our community programmes for children and adults as the Foundation looks to grow its impact on the health and well-being of local people and increase its financial sustainability.

“Zak is a fantastic addition to the Foundation coaching team and we are sure there will no shortage of demand for his time.”

Zak has already built a working relationship with first-team player Blair Adams with the pair collaborating on the delivery of the club’s Let’s Play Thursday sessions, district representative squad and the weekly coaching programme for Foundation Under-seven teams.

South Shields FC Foundation is South Shields FC’s independent charitable armand aims to increase the club’s impact on the health and well-being of the local community.

Last year, the Foundation worked with about 200 junior players each week and welcomes another 50 per week onto its open activity programmes for boys and girls of all ages and abilities.

The Futures Academy is delivered by South Shields FC in partnership with the town’s Mortimer Community College, providing performance football in education opportunities for players aged 11 to 16.