Joel Roberts MSc, BSc (Hons)
PGCE, UEFA “A’ License, FA Academy Manager's License, NSCAA Advanced National Diploma
As Program Director, Joel directs the Soccer Academy coaching staff and its operation. He oversees our playing philosophy and provides opportunities for players to fulfill their potential through the training and games program.
As a UEFA ‘A’ licensed coach, FA qualified Academy Manager and Lecturer in Sport who has built a broad range of senior experience through various roles in football and education in both the UK and the USA, Joel works directly with our US based staff to add real value to the student experience, both on and off the field.
Joel holds a Master’s Degree in Sporting Directorship and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Science and his credentials ensure that UDA students reach their optimal potential and ensure the program meets student’s expectations with respect to their overall experience.
Joel has an extensive knowledge of the player development process and currently works as a Senior Scout for a professional club in the English Premier League, as he has worked with the Academy programs of Fulham FC, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC, and has played the role of the Assistant Head Coach of the England Women U-23 National Team.
Jon David McCarthy, B.Sc
HEAD OF COACHING
Jon is a UEFA “A” Licensed Coach and a former International player for Northern Ireland with over 450 football league appearances at the professional club level. He is also a former manager at Chester FC.
As Head of Coaching, Jon will lead the delivery of all practical sessions with a focus on individual and team development, and manage the UDA Academy team on match-days.
A UEFA “A” Licensed Coach, and former professional player at football league clubs such as Birmingham City, Port Vale and York City, Jon has gained 18 international caps for Northern Ireland. Jon is currently the Assistant Manager of National League North side Southport FC, and he also has managerial experience from his time with Chester FC when he oversaw the development of several young players including Sam Hughes, who now plays for Leicester City FC in the Premier League.
As a former professional player, who holds a degree in Sports Science and has several years’ experience as an educator, Jon understands the importance of academics in the lives
of students and what it takes to succeed both in the classroom and on the field.
Richard Donnelly, M.Sc
UEFA Qualfied License
Former Pre Academy Coach at Manchester United FC
Richard was a pre-academy coach at Manchester United FC for 15 years before being appointed to Manchester United pre-academy as Manager by Nicky Butt.
Richard has worked with players such as Marcus Rashford and Jessie Lingard at the Manchester United Academy. He holds a Masters in Applied Sports Science and is a Coach Educator.
Additionally, Richard acts as a consultant for both the English and Welsh FA in a number of different roles, including Scouting and the delivery of Medical and Safeguarding qualifications. He also has experience working in the USA as an ODP and Select Club coach.
Head of player support
Gaynor acts as a liaison between the academy program and the staff at the University of Chester.
Her professional credentials and training add greater value and support to the overall student experience from enrollment to graduation.
Gaynor has extensive experience in higher education management, making her the perfect fit for the program. She is the owner and director of First Priority Training and Consulting Services, which specializes in accredited and bespoke first aid, Safeguarding and Health and Safety courses. Gaynor is also the designated safeguarding lead for the FA Northern Premier League Football Academy.
Gaynor has extensive experience across a number of platforms that includes staff development, monitoring examinations, staff training, quality assurance processes, and as a senior administrator within the Cheshire Judicial system.
Graham’s professional training and background is in player development across all levels.
His experiences include working as a coach for FA Premier League Club Everton FC within their Junior Academy, across all ages, specializing in the individual development of young players. He is also a specialist in one-two-one coaching.
Graham has experience as a talent identification scout at Everton FC, seeking to identify those players with the necessary attributes to play within an elite football environment. He was also recruited by Manchester City FC to co-ordinate their Regional Development Centers and management of a local scouting network.
He is a lead coach for Manchester City FC Schools — coaching and delivering the Manchester City Language and Performance Program, using the City Group philosophy, to educate players from all over the world through football.
In addition, he is also the managing director of Elite Academy Sports, which delivers football and education programs to schools, colleges and elite travel teams from around the world.
UDA GK Coach
Neil presently works with Welsh Premier League Club Connah’s Quay Nomads as their Senior Men’s Goalkeeping Coach and was a part of the coaching staff which saw them finish as runner-up in the Welsh Premier League and compete in the UEFA Europa League.
He is also the Head of Academy Goalkeeping, supporting the development of young GK’s and aspiring goalkeeper coaches. Neil has talent identification experience with several professional and semi-professional clubs including Liverpool FC, Everton FC and Tranmere Rovers. In addition, he is the owner and director of a GK Academy specializing in 1:1 GK training.
Seamus Reilly. M.Ed
UDA Soccer - Director of Recruitment
Seamus Reilly has an NSCAA Premier Coaching License.
Seamus has worked as a professional college coach in the USA for 15 years prior to moving to Ohio State University. He recognizes the need for a serious bound US college player to be given a wider and more productive soccer experience and opportunity. Seamus directs the Experience UDA events, UDA Summer Experience Tour, and selected UDA recruitment events.
Seamus works in close connection to the General Director, coordinating Experience UDA events and recruitment pathway opportunities for students.
Dr. Brian Haley
Executive Director, University Degrees Abroad
Brian is a former professional college coach in the U.S. for 26 years after moving from England. He played professional soccer in the American Soccer League for the Cleveland Cobras and for a number of semi-professional teams in the UK.
Brian also founded and developed the world's first program for the serious American soccer players between the critical development years of 18 to 21 to be given a wider opportunity for development than is presently available in the United States.
Brian holds a Doctorate in Education as well as the Premier Coaching License from the National Soccer Coaching Association of America.
He works closely with the UDA Soccer Program Director and the Head of Recruitment in the USA, to ensure the student experience is one of quality and provides the right opportunity for players and meets their expectations.