After a professional career as a player and coach in Europe, the UEFA Pro Licensed Rob Sherman has already made impacts in the Oceania region at New Zealand Football. He joined us at OFC in May as a High Performance Consultant. Get to know him more below.
OFC: Tell us a little bit about yourself outside of football?
RS: I’m a keen sportsman having represented Wales in three different sports (football, athletics and surf lifesaving). I’ve competed in triathlons in my 40s and completed the Lanzarote Ironman in 2000. I regularly run and ride my bike but just for pleasure nowadays. Family is very important to me and my son and daughter take centre stage. I have four grandchildren who my wife and I like to spoil!
As a former professional football player, do you have a moment you will cherish forever?
Playing for Wales at national level against Norway in 1978 was one of my highlights. I had a number of occasions where I also played against top players in reserve grade including Ossie Ardiles and Mario Kempes for Cardiff against Tottenham shortly after they had won the World Cup with Argentina.
You’ve supported the performance of some high profile teams, it’s not every day we have someone at OFC who has attended World Cups & the Olympics as a coach – how were those experiences?
Being part of a team at major events in a tough gig. The turnaround in fixtures meant that a typical day required about 16 hours of work however the reward justifies the commitment. The Canadian women’s team was fantastic to journey with on and off the pitch at the 2012 Olympics, specifically growing into a cohesive unit in the build-up and at the tournament.
You have an extensive coaching history, how have you adapted to the different cultural differences?
In terms of performance nothing changes, the demands of the game from a tactical, technical and physical perspective are consistent regardless of the nation. The mental demands are also the same, but the mental approach may have to be tailored to the culture and identity of the country you work with. Getting to know the national DNA and idiosyncrasies is a key factor so that the coach/player relationship is sound footing. You’re then able to use language and role models to drive performance and accountability.
Do you have any prior knowledge to the realities of the region?
Yes, as a previous Technical Director for New Zealand Football (2007-2009 & 2014-2016) I have learned the region. My son Drew also previously worked at the Cook Islands Football Association. His experience gave me further insights into the landscape, differences and challenges each country has.
How do you think your coaching experiences will benefit Oceania?
I feel that having a global perspective allows me to recognise best practices, but also have an empathy with local challenges and dynamics.
What are the key things you want to achieve while you’re here at OFC?
I hope that I can help OFC Member Associations and members realise their potential and help them bring their identity to life in a way that translates into being highly competitive.