March 26, 2023

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Burr Nick changed his life and himself to become a coach in Europe – a great interview about this path

Vadim Korablev found out all the details.

Remember, Nikita Kovalchuk wanted to become a coach ? In 2017, the author of Burr Football created a team in St. Petersburg, entered the city leagues and did not stop there. In 2019, he completed an internship at Sochi, then got into the structure of Spartak from Jurmala, and in 2021 ended up at Metta from the Latvian Major League: he worked with young men, led the women’s team – and won the Cup with her countries.

Less than a month ago, Kovalchuk became the coach of the Cypriot Aris Academy – the same one where Alexander Kokorin scores. Nick is sure that this is another step towards his dream – a contract with a top league club.

We talked about how to combine training and YouTube for six years and how this time has changed Kovalchuk. What to expect in the interview:

• Nick says he could have worked in academies in Germany, Portugal and England. Seriously?

• Why did he like living in Latvia very much? And why is he not drawn to Russia?

• Nick has not seen his children for a year and a half and admits that work comes first. Like this?

• Is he ready to quit YouTube altogether for a coaching career? And what if nothing works?

Nick had an option with an academy in Germany. But after February 24, getting into the top leagues is almost impossible.

– At the end of January, you signed a contract with Cypriot Aris. How did it come about?

– Before that, I worked for two years at the academy of the Latvian club Metta. Seems to work successfully. When I went to Latvia, I initially had a plan to spend two or three years there and move on. Before the February events, there were many options. After that, there were zero options. But there was a desire to grow, to throw new challenges and not feel comfortable. Because at some point I caught myself thinking that I was very comfortable in Latvia. Everyone knows me, I made a small breakthrough. But when you have not yet reached a certain high level, comfort is not your friend. We must try to make life difficult for ourselves.

I decided that if I don’t get a radical new challenge inside Latvia, that is, the position of the head coach in the First League (the second division in the system), then in any case I need to look for something. By this point, I no longer had an agent, I thought where I could turn. One of the options was Aris, where my old friend Alexei Dozortsev works as marketing director. I wrote to him, asked him to contact the sports department, sent a CV. Suddenly it will be interesting. It turned out they were interested.

Aris wants a completely new experience in all structures. They stir up local football, they want to be everywhere. They need some crazy people. And we match here. I negotiated with several other clubs, but Aris’s offer turned out to be the best.

– What other options were there?

“If negotiations are not successful, I do not have permission to talk about them. But it was Latvia. And Germany. True, in Germany the negotiations were doomed to failure, I would not have been formalized bureaucratically. But I understand everything. When people sit opposite you and start talking to you, they understand that you are a normal person, you respect other people and the value of life, they have no complaints about you. But there is bureaucracy and the specifics of politics.

– Club of the second Bundesliga?

– Slightly below the second Bundesliga. work at the academy.

My license does not allow me to work in the structure of the main team. There I can only be a coach-analyst. Somewhere else a year. Now I am finishing my studies for category B of UEFA, the exam is in the next two to three weeks. And if everything goes well, I will immediately start training for category A. Once I do that, I can apply for head coach positions in the minor leagues. And for the posts of just a coach or assistant in the major leagues.

Unfortunately, I lost a lot of time. For the first three years in Russia, I was not allowed to study.

Because you don’t have a higher education?

– Formally, yes. And de facto, certain people simply did not like me. But I don’t like them either, so we have 1:1 in this sense. I studied in Russia, but I was forbidden to give category C. I was the best on the course, I have excellent exams. But then I was denied. Moreover, category C does not solve anything, it is local – it applies only to the territory where you studied. As a result, they gave me a D – with her I could work as a physical education teacher at school. It is given to those who answer the question “What ball do they play football with?” Answer “Round”.

– Do you work in U16 and U17 at Aris?

– Yes. As in “Mette”, I went to the academy as an assistant – this is a full-time job, you are not laying out chips, but immersed in all the details. There is a large headquarters here: in Metta there was only a coach and an assistant, and here there is also a physical training coach, a goalkeeping coach, a technical director. For two ages – one group, for the other two ages – another. There is an analyst coach, he analyzes not only games, but also training sessions. They are removed from the copter.

But I don’t just train. I watch how the academy works, what kind of guys, what kind of football is here. It will stay that way until the end of the season. Then we will sit down and talk about other stages. Now I want to bring here the experience that I now have. By the standards of Cypriot academies, the experience is even great. Now, for example, we will introduce an electronic system for recording training. Let’s introduce a little different planning. My task is to show the academy the options that will allow everyone to become even a little better.