Ex professional soccer player Tony Merola arrives back in Dallas after two years back in his native country of Wales, UK working as Head Coach at Wrexham Football Club’s Community Foundation programme. By using soccer, the context of his role was to raise local participation levels through Primary and Secondary schools whilst also using Development Soccer Centres to identify talent to filter through to the clubs highly rated Centre of Excellence. Within his role, he implemented an English Literacy Project using the game of soccer to enhance boys and girls reading levels. Over the two years he was employed in this role, the initiative had been rolled out to over 60 Primary and Secondary schools, allowing over 100 hours contact time with approximately 2000 children of ages 7-13.
Alongside this role, his other profession was to work within the club’s highly rated Centre of Excellence coaching the Under 16 boy’s elite performance squad whilst he was also contracted to coordinate all video analysis sessions within the Centre and Youth Team squad. On several occasions of the 2012/13 season, Coach Merola worked closely with the senior professional team and first team staff as first team scout to analyse opposition teams and reporting his findings to first team staff via PowerPoint presentations.
Having completed the UEFA ‘A’ Licence in 2010, he has continued his personal professional development and in October 2013 graduated at Glyndwr University Wales with a Masters of Research in Sports and Exercise Sciences with the specific focus being on decision making capabilities in Youth team soccer players. His undergraduate education also saw him earn a BA Hons Degree in Community Sport Development at Glyndwr University with a 2:1 classification.
Coaching, developing and working with young children is a great passion of Coach Merola and his specialist area which is of particular interest is the pedagogical development of coaching especially with the objective of developing decisions making skills in players. This has resulted in the coach presenting his work at the BASES Student Conference in 2010 from results obtained from his research area. His philosophy is not to teach children the game, but to educate them and implement a coaching structure/environment that allows players to express themselves whilst having fun and playing with a smile on their face.
Professional Football Qualifications
UEFA ‘A’ Licence (2010)
UEFA ‘B’ Licence (2008)
UEFA C Certificate (2006)
FAW Leaders Award (2005)
Professional Academic Education
Masters of Research Sports & Exercise Sciences @ Glyndwr University of Wales (2013)
BA Hons Community Sport Development @ Glyndwr University of Wales (2010)
Head Coach of Wrexham Football Clubs Community programme (2012-2014)
Head Coach of Wrexham FC’s U16 elite performance squad (2012-2014)
Head Coach U9, U10, U11 & U16 Boys programme LFC America, Dallas (2011-2012)
Wrexham Football Club First Team Scout (2010-2011, 2012-2014)
Wrexham Youth Team Match Analyst (2008-2011)
Head Coach Glyndwr University Men’s Soccer Team (2007-2010)
Head Coach of Wrexham FC Centre of Excellence under 13’s (2009-2010)
Assistant Head Coach at Deeside College (2008-2009)
Head Coach Wrexham FC Centre of Excellence under 16’s (2008-2009)
Head Coach of Wrexham FC Centre of Excellence under 15’s (2007-2008)
First Team Senior Player/Manager Mold Alexandra Football Club (2005-2008)
First Team Player/Coach Mold Alexandra (2002-2005)
Scholarship at Wrexham FC (1992-1994)
Professional player at Wrexham FC (1994-1995)
Made first team debut at 17 in July 1994
Selected to play for Wales at U18 level in October 1993
Over 300 appearances playing semi-professional at various clubs in Welsh Pyramid system