Tranmere Rovers have been working on partnerships in China since 2016, with individuals flying out for six or 12-month placements to coach football and teach English to school children.
Rovers’ relationship with China has been a great success for the club and those involved with the programme, and the Super Whites are now partnered with Little London English School, Honder University and the Inner Mongolia Government.
Ollie Murphy was first introduced to the course through the University of Chester, and after attending an applicant day, followed by an interview he successfully gained a coaching position onto the course.
Murphy, of Higher Bebington, Wirral, is now into his final months of his time in Southeast Asia and recently flew out from Hohhot to Hainan. The 21-year old told us that his time away from the United Kingdom has been split up into two main roles.
He said: “The first role is coaching. I’ve coached kindergarten aged children in Hohhot, under-11’s in Ordos and mix of different ages at a football camp in Hainan.
“During my time in Hohhot, I have also taught English as a foreign language at a number of Little London schools which has been a great experience for me as I have developed a lot of different skills.”
The idea of travelling thousands of miles away can be daunting for some, and although Murphy admits there are still ‘good and bad days’, he has now fully adjusted to being away from home.
Tranmere Rovers tailor this course across China to fit around different roles and activities, and during this year’s course participants have visited Hohhot, Ordos, Shanghai, Beijing and Hainan.
One of his biggest highlights of the programme thus so far has been the cultural experience and visiting different cities. China is home to some of the world’s most famous landmarks, with some of the coaches lucky enough to visit them throughout 2017 and 2018.
“During Chinese New Year, myself and other coaches were lucky enough to travel to Shanghai and then Beijing, visiting many of the major tourist attractions, including The Bund, The Yu Garden, The Olympic Park, The Great Wall of China & The Forbidden City amongst others.”, he said.
Tranmere Rovers are now promoting the teaching roles for 2018, with the most recent presentation for the course taking place last week on March 8. With regards to thinking about applicants for this year, Murphy had plenty of advice for those considering applying for the programme.
“If I was to give advice to anyone who is interested in a coaching role with TRFC in China, I’d encourage them to try to be as positive as possible, particularly at the start when it can be tough.
“Then throw themselves in at the deep end, be confident and don’t turn down any opportunities as the opportunities have given me some fantastic experiences and memories. I would say it has been a trip of a lifetime.”, he added.
Murphy graduated from the University of Chester with a Bachelor of Science with Honours (2:1) in Sports Coaching in October 2017, and while most would turn to graduate jobs within the United Kingdom, the 21-year old felt that working in China would be the best solution for him to improve as a coach.
He said: “When returning from China, I will have definitely developed and improved as a coach and having the experience of teaching English also adds a positive experience and different skill that I never had before I left.
The coaching programme for 2017-18 is due to finish in June 2018, and while there is an option to extend his contract, Murphy intends to go down a different route in order to strengthen his coaching abilities.
“My plan is to go back to University to complete my Masters Degree in Sports Coaching & Development, undertake coaching badges and maybe in the future I will return to China to coach again.”, he said.
If you would like to learn more about the work Tranmere Rovers can offer you in China, click here for more information.