The battle to start Coerver Coaching & what had to change - Alf Galustian

Coerver Coaching's method pioneered a technical skills revolution. Now a global company, its beginnings can be pinpointed to 1 vision, 2 locations and 3 people.



A chance meeting back in 1983 between an Englishman, a Scot and a Dutchman went some way in changing how young footballers could develop technical abilities. 

The Englishman in question was studious Alf Galustian, the Scot, Chelsea footballing hero Charlie Cook, with Wiel Coerver, labelled 'The Einstein of football' the Dutchman.

ALF_Galustian_and_Charlie_Cooke_explain_Coerver_Coaching_at_a_coaching_convention_football4footballFOUNDERS: Alf Galustian & Charlie Cooke field questions about Coerver Coaching

America was the location, (Philadelphia to be exact) and a coaching convention the occasion. For some reason, no one puts on coaching 'get-togethers' like the Americans. Every year around the US, there are gatherings of thousands seeking an educational fix. What's on show can be a bit of a mixed bag. It can be a case of the sublime to the sometimes ridiculous. In this particular instance though it was the dawn of a new era.




For those who can remember, training sessions of the '80s, were usually made up of one ball between two lines of players. Training was a very 'one-size fits all' approach. The UK, in particular, had more or less accepted the Charles Hughes method as the way forward. Hughes was a believer in getting the ball into the opposition's box with as minimal touches as possible. 'The Longball'.


Youth training in the 80's was all built around fitness and team first

football4football-training team


With the game taught in a very defensive way and individual skill generally ignored, Wiel Coerver wanted to change things. He had a way to make things better. Why not help young players gain enhanced individual technique to benefit the team framework.

How was this to be done? By arming players with a 1 v 1 skill bank to tap into when needed. Looking at individuals of the past will be working proof of benefits.


Johan_Cruyff_dribbles_towards_an_opponant_at_the_1974_World_Cup_football4footballINSPIRATION: Johan Cruyff's fluid abilities was something that Coerver Coaching wanted to embody.


The best in the game


Players identified were some of the greats of the game, England's Sir Stanley Matthews, Johan Cryuff of Holland, Germany's Franz Beckenbauer and Brazilian King Pele. All excellent examples of players who excelled by being expertly two-footed.

Wiel carried out his beliefs, mainly working in his native Holland, but the U.S conventions and trips to the middle east gave others the chance to see his teachings if they knew what to look for.

Football of this time was played out on clipboards with textbooks the teacher.
Strange, when all the most successful footballers & teams played in a way you couldn't easily put into words.
As believers of pure football, Alf and Charlie knew what to look for but did' t know it was going to hit them in the face.

Coerver_coaching_session_for_children_football4football_training_drillsTEMPLATE: Individual training with a pal is seen as the norm now thanks to the pioneering approach of Coerver


Seizing the opportunity


Walking past a near-empty room, there was Coerver, delivering a session to 6 young players. Now, that might not seem too groundbreaking today, but back then you didn't see that. Every participant had a ball each to engage with.

So, here's a coach giving individual drills to young children for them to develop a personal relationship with the ball, unheard of!

This was the way forward for Alf. This will breed a new crop of skilled young player all over the world. This will make the game a more beautiful spectacle for fans. This wasn't what Wiel saw though. Having set up a few soccer camps in the States, Alf & Charlie were looking to get an edge, something that would make them different.

It's fair to say, Coerver was happy working away in a very closed environment.


Wiel wasn't an easy character

Coerver Co-Founder-Alf Galustian to football4football


Alf & Charlie had to explain the full potential & effect the method could have on the world game. Eventually, Wiel saw the longterm benefits, and with the foresight & packaging of the Brits, Coerver Coaching was born in 1984.

The first thing needed was a workable syllabus. There was no progressive structure to what Wiel was doing. Yes, the players exposed to it were experiencing new techniques and becoming more comfortable with a football; however, there were gaps.

The relationship between the founders was typical of all coaches, opinions differ, challenges present, and solutions discovered.

The content of the method needed a process. Coerver coaches should be able to plot a journey of ball mastery for their pupils. Start with this, then move onto this then you can do that and so on.


Alf_galustian_doing_a_Coerver_coaching_classroom_session_coaches_football4football_trainingLEARNING PLAN: The Coerver Coaching method needed to be developed so it could be easily taught

From that point, the Coerver Method has developed to embrace the modern game. Over a million young players and thousands of coaches in more than 22 countries have experienced its program.

A program that,' focuses on teaching individual skills to young players as a priority before any team or tactical concept'.


Wiel always said, for an individual player to be unpredictable in 1 v 1, they need moves & turns to create better situations.

Coerver taught and ex - Manchester Utd-Rene Meulensteen exclusively to football4football


With a clear vision and appreciation of the direction, Coerver Coaching has renowned advocates like Arsene Wenger for one and the technical skills master Rene Meulensteen, formally of Manchester United (himself a coach taught via Coerver) fans of its purpose.


Wiel_Coerver_with_Cruyff_football4football_trainingDUTCH INFLUENCE: Wiel Coerver [centre] with Johan Cruyff [right]

Wiel Coerver passed away on April 22nd 2011 aged 86.




Anyone involved in the coaching of development football will undoubtedly have a personal view of how they want footballers to play the game. There are masses of things available to mull over and apply. Is one better than another? Purpose, beliefs & personnel decide that.

UK director Scott Wright is tasked with carrying Coerver Coaching forward for its immediate future. However, all over the world coaches qualified in its unique teachings continue to build players who can dominate the 1 v 1 to benefit team outcomes. 

Scott_Wright_delivering_aGroup_chat_on_coerver_coaching_Manchester_City_Etihad_campus_football4football_trainingTHE FUTURE: Scott Wright has worked very closely with Galustian over the years to continue Coerver's model.


Skill development has gained a massive following in both people interested in it and people selling it as a business. 

We at football4football look at the what's offered in the game to explain its benefits to individual need. Coaching methods are no different; the best are the most influential, productive, have longevity and can be used by anyone. Coerver Coaching falls into that category.

This is the 1st segment of a multi-part series with Alf Galustian - members will be be notified of the next release. 

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