|Most soccer players only want to succeed beyond their expectations throughout their professional playing careers. Others look beyond that and set their sights on new, ambitious goals once they enter the next chapter in their professional careers after retiring from playing professionally. PSC Director Tom Taylor has done just that. Since PSC’S USA programs began in 2009, Taylor has played a huge part in the agency’s placement and recruitment process when it comes to helping players begin their professional careers in the illustrious game of soccer. We caught up with the former Wilmington Hammerhead to get his thoughts on his significant time and journey with PSC and what he wishes to accomplish in the next 10 years…|
This year marks PSC’s 10 year anniversary. How does it feel to hear that it’s already been 10 years since this agency came to be?
It’s amazing to think it’s been 10 years since we did our first showcase tour to Belgium and Holland in 2009. I believe in that trip it was me, Paul, Mark and Jimmy Mullen (former Burnley, Head Coach) and I still keep in touch with a number of those players still to this day, many who are running successful businesses of their own. PSC has actually been running since 2002 but it’s now been 10 years officially since our combine and showcase programs started. Time goes by so quickly and it’s amazing to see how much it’s grown over the years and how many players we have helped get professional contracts and opportunities during this time.
In terms of an organization, how much have you guys grown since 2009?
Each year seems to have got bigger and better in regards to our success stories and program growth but it’s pretty much the same small team of staff we have had from the start (myself, Paul, Mark, Simon, Guy). Like any team or organization it’s very important to have dedicated, hard working individuals that are experienced in the industry and share the same passion for the game. We come across people everyday that want to share their ideas, projects or work with us but you learn very quickly in this business that it’s very difficult to final loyal colleagues that last the distance have the correct work ethic and share the same values and vision.
I think having a strong core of staff with integrity, experience, football knowledge and substance is the reason we have been very successful over the years and of course our contacts within the game is a massive factor for that too. Paul (my father) has been in the game as a player, coach, manager and Sporting Director for over 45 years, ran a professional football club in England for over 19 years and created this company so we have all obviously learnt a lot from his knowledge and experiences in the game. I have been lucky enough to have been brought up in a football family so have been around the game since I was born. Guy has been in the game in America his entire life as a player, coach and Academy Director and was also born into the game with his father being a renowned figure and well respected coach in the NASL, MLS and Major Indoor Soccer so has so much to offer to our players about this game. Mark has been responsible for bringing many English and Spanish Premier League teams to tour in the USA and England over the years and has helped place some really top players into the Premier League at the highest level with his contacts in the UK. Obviously Oleksandr Zinchenko being one of them who’s recently just won his second premier league title in the last two years. His primary focus is the players and clubs at the top levels in Europe. Hopefully we can get to a point where we can end up developing our own players in the USA and send to him for that level!
Simon has done an incredible job with the organization and day to day running of the company. Without him it would be very difficult to function. I have known him for over 30 years and can always rely on him to do a top job. He works around the clock putting in countless hours to make sure everything is in order and everything operates smoothly and we are efficient at doing what we do best; which is developing players and exposing them to professional opportunities. He has also developed the Women’s area of our business tremendously and we have seen huge growth in that area with many girls getting professional opportunities in Scandinavia through his contacts out there. There isn’t too many industry’s where you get to enjoy your work but luckily for me I have been able to do something I’ve enjoyed my entire life and it gives me great pleasure helping others achieve this goal. In my opinion there is nothing better in life to be able to play, coach or be involved in any way in football and to get paid for doing it, is a bonus!!
When you guys first moved here from the UK, did you guys ever think that you would still be doing what you’re doing ten years from that point in time?
I think I always believed that we would be successful in our programs as I could see right away there was a huge gap in this country for players aged 18-23 (and there still is). Since I came to this country to play in the USL in 2007 then I always had players ask me for help to get over to Europe and play or advice on what direction to take. It’s such a huge country and so many players but so few professional teams and that’s with the USL expanding to around 40 teams now. That’s the equivalent of Europe having only 40 tier 2/3 teams. In England alone with a population of around 60 million there is 92 league teams, then around another 30-40 teams below that paying good money and then below that even further teams that pay the players. So when you compare that to the United States it’s a big difference!!
Are you guys already thinking about the next 10 years? If so, what do you guys wish to accomplish in the next decade?
Yes, you always have to look to the future and how you can develop and improve. Every year becomes more difficult with players, clubs and people trying to replicate our business. Luckily for us we have many years of experience, a lot of happy players, clubs and coaches who require our services and 400+ success stories to back up our work which I don’t think any other company can come close to.
We always try and give the best service possible to our players as we have been in their shoes as a player and understand how it can feel when you get rejected or don’t get given that contract you had hoped for. That is why we have created other programs over the years not just to showcase and expose players but to develop their overall game so they can be in a better position next time they want to tryout and showcase themselves. We have developed our UPSL program for players aged 16-24 in recent years and hope to see our younger programs and camps develop a lot further for players even younger than this so we can look to discover and create players ourselves for the future, not just relying on discovering them.
What are some tender memories you guys have of PSC looking back at this last decade?
So many great trips around the world. I think I’ve been to around 30 countries with PSC running, coaching and even playing against some great teams.
It’s really hard to pick one trip in particular but I think Turkey 2012 was a really talented team with a lot of players that went onto play at the professional level. Probably the best team we ever had as of now.. We had Shawn Nicklaw who got a contract with a Scandinavia premier league club after the final match, Michael Reed who’s gone onto play a number of years in the USL and now at Nashville, Troy Cole who played for Wilmington, St Louis, Chuck Chijindu who played MLS and a number of other quality players! During that tour we played a Premier League club from Georgia who were in the Europa League who approached the game like they were going to hammer us thinking we were inferior opponents because they had no idea about the level of football in the USA! It was very satisfying to win the game 1-0 and see the reaction of their coaching staff and players at the end of the game 🙂
Other memorable moments would probably be getting the chance to spend summers in Sweden with many groups of players and seeing lots of them stay out in Europe to play with professional teams, traveling to Asia and seeing their unique culture and approach to the game and getting the chance to take teams back to England (my home) so players can experience that culture and see the home of football (I suppose I can say that now with the Champions League and Europe Final fixtures!).