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Q&A with Jess Ibrom

FFS Technical Director Jess Ibrom in his previous role as Head Coach of Tasman United. Photo Credit: Phototek

Football Federation Samoa’s (FFS) new Technical Director Jess Ibrom has been passionate about football since childhood.

He began playing in the United Kingdom and the United States before moving into coaching and has clocked up 20 years of grassroots and elite experience at professional and international level in five countries across four continents.

Ibrom, who holds British UEFA ‘A’ and USSF ‘A’ coaching licences, moved to New Zealand in 2011 and has worked in various roles in the Pacific, including the Cook Islands where he served as a Technical Director.

He was also the Academy Director for the Wellington Phoenix in the A-League and was the head coach and Director of Football for Tasman United in New Zealand’s national league before taking up his new role as the FFS Technical Director.

OFC Media caught up with him to find out about his vision for the game in Samoa and the Pacific.

What attracted you to this role?

The huge potential of the country as well as the vision the President has for the game in Samoa is something that immediately attracted me to the role. The challenge this will bring me and the opportunity to work with people who collectively want to make a difference is something that enthused me greatly.

FFS Technical Director Jess Ibrom.

How would you assess the potential of football in Samoa?

The potential of football in Samoa is huge and this has been the case for a number of years. I’ve been an interested observer with my roles within in the region for the best part of 10 years.

The potential not just with the men but also the women who finished runners-up at the Pacific Games in 2019 is very big. There’s already a tremendous amount of work and activities that are taking place in Samoa with the excellent staff who are doing an outstanding job.

It’s my desire to enhance the current work as well as developing new areas that will ultimately maximise the potential in the future.

How do you see the current status of the game and what is your long-term vision and goal in terms of developing youth, women’s and men’s football both at grassroots as well as the top level?

Obviously the COVID situation has impacted every Member Association (MA) in the region in some way.

However, currently there’s a huge amount of activity going on in Samoa from the fun football programmes to development centres, competitions, referee workshops and much more.

My long-term vision is to help elevate a number of key areas that will compliment each other not just in the present but also in the future.

To develop any area from grassroots to the top level, it comes down to contact time with the right programmes in place.

Quite simply, the more the players and coaches are on the grass in some format as well as having a robust competition and coach education programme is what will help to develop players and coaches for the long-term for both the men’s and women’s game across the country, including the regions.

What do you anticipate to be your main challenges and what will be your top priority?

The main challenge will be working our way through COVID and what this will look like in the region going forward from a competition element.

The top priority for us at FFS currently is the planning stage and making sure we are fully prepared for 2021 in all areas of the Federation whilst making sure we are fully aligned with OFC and FIFA.

What role can OFC play in supporting you and how closely do you expect to work with the OFC Football Development department as well as with other Member Associations?

This has already started in earnest. OFC has been a tremendous resource of support for myself and all the staff in Samoa.

There’s has been a huge amount of work going on with strong collaboration between OFC and FFS as we develop our programmes on the ground and staff at the Federation.

Due to the current status of the game in this part of the world, if anything, it has brought us closer together.

Just last week we had a call between FFS staff and the Tonga FA. All MAs are on weekly calls with OFC and this provides a greater opportunity to share ideas and knowledge that will benefit the game in the region in the future.

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