English league is regarded as one of the toughest football leagues around the globe. Footballers and coaches often fails to make their mark in English league.
But the story seems bit different for an Indian coach who hails from soccer crazy district of Malabar, Kerala. Meet Justin Jose , the head coach of Sutton United LFC.
Who is Justin Jose ?
Justin Jose currently serves as the head coach of English side Sutton United LFC.He is a UEFA B license holder, one among the few Indians who managed to hold UEFA licenses. Justin is the very first Keralite to hold a UEFA License.He was an Engineering graduate who gave up him academic credentials to pursue his career in football.
Born in Bahrain as the eldest son of Mr. E K Jose and Mary Jose, Justin moved to his native place in Mala,Thrissur alongwith his parents. He completed his school education from Holy Child school, Mala.From an early age onwards he discovered his love for the beautiful game. Justin remembers playing football with elders at Kottackal ground which helped him to acquire basic knowledge about the sport.
Watching 1998 world cup on TV with his dad had an everlasting impression on him, He started following the game more passionately. Justin remembers waking up early for watching football matches. He was part of school football team and also appeared in several sevens football tournament’s in the region.
Banglore and Aeronautical Engineering
Justin completed his graduation in Aeronautical engineering from Hindustan Aviation Academy in 2010. He enjoyed his college life like every other teenagers. He fondly remembers his college life for making long bike rides and playing football. Though the college never had a football team, Justin along with few friends together organised regular football matches and even managed to beat some well reputed colleges in the city.During this time he was badly hurt while playing football, which he considers as the extremely frustrating days. He even had to stop playing football due to recurring injuries.
Life in Mumbai
After completing his graduation, Justin moved to Mumbai for doing his internship with Air India. Life in the new city kinda rekindled his love for the game. He started training with a non league club based from Vasai. Justin was also a member of India’s first official arsenal supporters club.
He remembers rushing back from office to the play football with his friends. Though it was some of the best days in his life he was more frustrated with his job.During this point of time, he realised that life is short and dont want to have any regrets later in his life. Football was always his firstlove and he wanted to remain with the game forever.
He was just an average footballer with recurring injuries, but his football knowledge and a keen eye for detail was second to none. So he decided to take up coaching as his career.
After resigning from his job in Air India he came back to Kerala to start his new life as a coach. Later that year Justin started his coaching career under the mentoring of Mr.Thomas, for AFC Vision India project at BVMHS, Kallettumkara. He later organised several football camps in nearby schools. He also turned out as mentor at SEPT Academy, Edathirinji.
Justin recalls his initial years as a mentor, where he was away from the pressure to win and was able to experiment his coaching philosophy by making mistakes while he was still mastering his craft. That was crucial for his personal development as a coach.
Life in London
Moving to London was the turning point in his career, he started making slow and steady progress for achieving his dream as a professional.
In 2011 Justin joined Tooting & Mitcham United FC as the U14 coach. During his time at TMUFC , he fulfilled roles as an Academy coach, reserve team manager and opposition scout for the first team. The same year he was coaching at Arsenal Development centre (U7-U10) and schools in North London as part of the Arsenal Community Programmes. Where he was awarded as the Community coach of the year award by Arsenal Legend Tony Adams.
In 2012 he became the head coach and manager at Roehampton University. There he oversaw the football training and setup of all 3 team and managed the first team on match days.Two years later, Justin left Tooting & Mitcham, Arsenal and Roehampton to concentrate more on completing his post graduation. After completing his PG, He joined AFC Wimbledon U14 girls and coached at Sports attack academy on the weekends.
In June 2017, Justin was appointed as the head coach of Sutton United Ladies FC, His first assignment at a professional club.
Head coach of Sutton United
As the head coach of Sutton united LFC, he was tasked with responsibility of monitoring the development of academy sides and was also given the charge of first team. Though it was a difficult task, Justin passed the test in flying colours. After just 3 Months of taking over the clubs Senior Women’s side, Justin worked his magic , his tactics helped the team to reach new heights. Presently his side sits on top of the table with 14 points from 6 matches.
Sutton thrashed heavy weights Crystal palace Reserves for a score of 6-1 to tighten then title hopes. Within a short span of time, he was able to transform the attitude of the team and inject them with a winning mentality. He hopes to continue the current form and lift the title in his first year in charge of the club.
Arsenal Legend Tony Adams honouring Justin with Community coach of the year Award
Justin was voted as the best University coach following his 100% win rate with Roehampton university Men’s football team. He was also awarded as the best Community coach of the year during his time with Arsenal foundation.He also won u14 league and U15 cup during his time with Tooting and Mitcham United FC.
Justin aims to complete his Uefa A license by next year, he already attended the workshop for the course. He also plans to complete his pro license soon.
Justin definitely loves to come back to India and work for the betterment of Indian football. But he has some unfinished business there.