Jake Goodship: From Stevenage to Brisbane Roar

In the latest of our #DubWrap series reviewing the 2020/21 Westfield W-League season, Ben Gilby chatted to Brisbane Roar head coach Jake Goodship about his footballing career and how he views the club’s W-League season.

Above: Brisbane Roar head coach Jake Goodship who was largely happy with his team’s season. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images.

It’s been a long journey for Jake Goodship from Hertfordshire, part of London’s commuter belt, to Queensland via New Jersey.

He takes up the story. “My football story began when I was a 14 year old who was picked up by Stevenage FC (who play in the fourth tier of the English game) and I went on to play for their youth team and system under Robbie O’Keefe and Darren Sarll. This is when I found a passion for love for coaching. I was very lucky and fortunate to have been under some top, top coaches during this period such as Dave Reddington, David Bass and Malcolm Allen.

“Looking back, being within this environment has helped shaped and assist me with the style, beliefs and values that I hold as a coach today. When I was 18 and unfortunately released by Stevenage, I passed my UEFA B licence and went on to coach at the club academy program prior to moving overseas in New Jersey, working for a private academy. Although it was not a great experience, I’m forever grateful as it was here that I learned the hard yards and ability to work back to back sessions daily. Within the six months or so must have delivered 1,000 sessions!”

“Then, in 2009 I made the decision to come to Australia and Brisbane specifically to take up a role at Brisbane City FC. While at this prestigious club I held roles from head youth coach to academy director and responsibilities from overseeing club staff and player development and recruitment. As part of this I played a big role within the establishment of their successful academy program.”

“I was lucky enough to be brought to Brisbane Roar by Drew Sherman, the then technical director at the club. He is someone who I highly regard as one of the best coach leaders/academy directors around. At first I turned down the opportunity but after a number of discussions with Drew and other staff at the time it was an opportunity too good to turn down both a professional sense and due to the fact that a change from my previous club was well due. Having the chance to be surrounded by football personal such as Craig Moore, John Aloisi, Jason Kearton, Ross Aloisi and Danny Tiatto was a fantastic experience within my first couple of seasons. Then more lately with Robbie Fowler and Tony Grant, another two top coaches who set good positive foundations are the club.”

“I have now been at Brisbane Roar for four seasons – two of which has been with the club’s W-League side as head coach and two with the club’s Youth team (NYL/NPL) and there was also one year within the club’s academy program. I am now currently studying for my FFA / AFC Pro licence Diploma.”

Jake then tried to compare his experiences living and coaching in England with those in Brisbane.

“Here in Australia there is a huge difference compared to what things were like back in the UK. Simply due to cultural differences. This country is like paradise with the weather and environment. It’s safe for families and children. Whereas England’s love for the game of football speaks for itself, it’s within day to day life – such as all the coverage in newspapers, social media and the main news.”

Above: Jake on the touchline during Brisbane Roar’s semi-final against Melbourne Victory. Photo: @JakeGoodship.

“I believe this plays a huge role within the lack of culture here, thus leading to perception of football not being seen as a professional career as such and more so of a hobby. The exciting prospect of football in Australia for future years is endless. There is huge potential to become a powerhouse but only if resources and facilities are backed by media platforms on a daily basis to assist with the public perception.”

We then turned our attention to this season, starting with the impact of coronavirus on the preparations for the campaign.

“Covid was a nightmare in terms of planning,” Jake admitted. Everything was unknown and needed the ability to deal with setbacks, changes at the last minute and having the ability to be positive with circumstances and decisions being sprung on us at any time. We had players having to quarantine upon arrival, having to be Covid tested after each away fixture as well as self-isolating and needing to get exemptions to train. The group were great in dealing with this and any last minute changes which helped build trust and togetherness in a way. We were lucky and blessed to have chance to play out the season with crowds.”

Roar started the season with four consecutive draws, which was an incredible statistic.

“Yeah, our first four games we actually played really well,” said Jake. We created a number of chances and our number of progressive passes were much higher than each opposition and the general possession stats were in our favour.”

“However, we lacked the clinical edge to finish off chances and were not ruthless enough. I suppose having the confidence to continue to play our way and create chances was a good outlook, however with the internal goals and targets we had, we were frustrated with a points tally of four from the first 12.”

“Looking back we built a really good performance platform from these games and went on a good run of unbeaten games. This, if anything helped our group move forward as it was then fine tuning the small details within our training sessions,” Jake admitted.

I asked Jake for his overarching view on his team’s regular season performances. “I was very happy with the regular season apart from two games – Newcastle Jets and Canberra United away.”

Above: Jamilla Rankin (right) a youngster who had a fantastic season for the Roar. Photo: Brisbane Roar.

“However off the top of my head we led the stats in shots/chances created plus possession dominated, corners won, progressive passes and balls won in front third, so I think the stats tell a great story.”

“We over achieved in my opinion, as generally speaking on average the club is the third most successful in the W-League’s short history so second or first would be seen as a positive season.”

We then spoke more specifically about some of the Roar’s stand out players for the campaign, starting with youngsters Jamilla Rankin and Wini Heatley.

“They both had positive seasons, however as happens with young players, they perhaps lacked consistency at times. Both suit full back roles with us very well. They are very aggressive in and out of possession, they’re technically efficient and both are top, top athletes.”

“I would like to think they both have a good future ahead if they continue to work hard and stay grounded. Another young player, Leticia McKenna also fitted in well this season in my opinion and is another young player with exciting future ahead of her.”

Emily Gielnik came back to Brisbane and produced a series of superb performances. “Em is the ultimate professional in terms of off field self-management and her mannerisms within our training and game environment. She’s forever wanting to improve and beat all the goals she is set. Her ambitious mind-set is very infectious. I’m grateful to Em for the opportunity to have her part of our squad as we were consistency pushing boundaries and finding ways to improve our processes both as a group and individuals and ultimately we become better coaches and players as a result of this.”

We then moved on to discuss the impact of Emily Gielnik and Clare Polkinghorne moving to Sweden before the Finals campaign.

“I think any team losing Polks and Em would feel the impact. However we were confident the in group we had and also made a good signing in terms of bringing in Sunny Franco to lift our environment from a social aspect as well as overall.”

Above: Emily Gielnik – a great season in front of goal. Photo: Brisbane Roar.

“I think looking back at the semi against a good Melbourne Victory group who kept seven or eight clean sheets this season, we scored two goals on the night, there were two goals questionably called offside, one ghost goal… so in theory scoring five against them without both players speaks volumes. Unfortunately the officials in my opinion didn’t help but that’s no excuse. Victory were very good.”

“I was happy with our performance and our ability to deal with setbacks, as mentioned above, scoring two with two ruled out and one not given, that’s an incredible feat. Plus we conceded two in second half stoppage time, so it blew out. But our players did very well to deal with setbacks given to us and showed a good bounce back ability to keep going. We will be better for the experience of that game and look to build upon it for future seasons.”

I asked Jake if there is anything the W-League could do to try and ensure clubs were not losing key players at the sharp end of the season going forward.

“I think the transfer windows affected W-League this season due to its delayed start. But moving forward, if the W-League were to be a longer season, then something needs to change. I think selling players is a good business model, like we have done past two seasons, however clubs need to view players as assets and provide longer contracts to ensure both player and club security. The W-League could be one of the top five women’s leagues in the world, but decision makers need to be bold and proactive. I would like to see more teams and a full home and away season implemented ASAP.”

We now looked ahead to the future of the club, starting with potential recruitment.

“Our recruitment process is forever on going. We’re always looking at players and using our formula to compare and see which player best fits in to our system. Rather than simply signing a player because she’s good, they need to fit in to our culture, environment and share same values and vision in how we approach the game.”

As well as recruitment, Brisbane will be very keen to retain their exciting youngsters. This is something Jake doesn’t see any problem with achieving.

“We are very confident in retaining our young players as well as perhaps enticing a few more to come across. We need to have that confidence in our environment and how we go about things on a daily basis. We need to have that confidence and do the best job we can for the player and then there will be no reason for them wanting to leave, unless it’s for a bigger league overseas or for more money as our budget is low and doesn’t compare with the likes of the Sydney and Melbourne based teams.

Finally, I asked Jake if he has made any goals for the team for next season already. “Yes. We need to continue to build upon the previous two seasons and continue to break our own goals and targets as well as making sure we continue to be exciting to watch. Additionally, we need to support and assist players to push boundaries and if winning trophies is a by-product of that then fantastic. However in short, we want to be a team that the community can be proud of.”

Ben Gilby writes for Beyond90, Australia’s leading independent women’s football platform. Visit https://beyond90.com.au/

Look out for another #DubWrap feature with W-League Players looking back at their season soon!

Impetus’ coverage of Australian Women’s Football is supported by The Chicken Salt Co. They are offering every Impetus reader 5% off all orders of Chicken Salt from their website. Go to https://www.chickensalt.co.uk/?mate=impetus and place your order – 5% will automatically be taken off of the cost. The coupon code is impetus.

Artwork: Graphics by PW

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