Lloyd Owers aims to visit the Marshall Islands in July.
Owers was hired as the Marshall Islands Soccer Federation’s new Technical Director just before the turn of the year. He tells Football in Oceania that he has signed a two-year-deal with MISF.
“This job randomly came about through the creation of my blog site coachdevelopment.uk which then allowed me to speak to people that are working across the world. I did an interview with a couple of members of staff from the Samoan National team and it got me looking into other nations in the area. I came across the Marshall Islands and Shem Livai (the FA president) and some chance conversations with a proposal of my aims for the nations soccer and my own philosophy then allowed me to start the role behind closed doors in early December, and then formally announced just before Christmas,” Owers tells Football in Oceania.
“The reason that I wanted this is that it’s such a blank canvas and allows me to have a huge impact on how a whole country can view and be a part of soccer, so from that aspect it’s a huge, but also personally, it’s a massive opportunity to showcase my own ability on a worldwide stage and hopefully this spirals my own career – however, first and foremost there is a long-term project here for the Marshall Islands.”
Owers is from the UK but has worked in Canada, Sweden and the US, as well as his homeland.
He’s “done it all”, from coaching, managing, scouting, mentoring and coach education positions, as well as working as a teacher at college and university level.
Now he’s got at job on the other side of the world.
“The FA are highly ambitious and have their own aims, but my aims tie into that as well and for us it’s all about creating a soccer structure which includes encouraging children to play at an early age and this is in-school and out-of-school with youth development structures in place,” Owers says.
He says there will also be a league structure.
“Initially starting with men’s and with aims to increase female participation as a longer aim too.”
And he hopes the Marshall Islands can jump the hurdles and hoops that the likes of Tuvalu and Kiribati have yet to do, and join the OFC and FIFA.
“We also aim to become OFC members and ultimately FIFA members in years to come, but until that point we will be heavily reliant on fundraising and sponsorship to achieve our goals because we are starting from the bottom with 0 kit and equipment available,” Owers says.
Owers will “definitely” visit the small island nation in July, but hopes to come out even sooner.
“Because I would like to be able to deliver coach education workshops to those that want to be involved with our project. Financial constraints from the FA are understandably a reality, so this is something that we will need to work out, but I’m sure we can.”
“As for moving out… well you can never say never. My wife is fortunately very adventurous and is always up for a challenge, so if financially it was possible, then we would jump at the opportunity to relocate there” Owers says.