* The new Premier League plan for Academies (EPPP) 
* The audit process for the EPPP Parental Influence- guidance for parents Sports Psychology for Football 
* Session planning to involve decision-making 
Creating the Right Atmosphere 


This document can be accessed on Johns page

“Recently, I sent this email to (some associates) I get so fed up listening to coaches at the clubs that I visit talking about "the number 6" or the "number 10" instead of talking positions and giving some real detail about each player's strengths. In an interview with one of the coaches, he said that he did not have a proper centre-forward so he plays ‘two nine-and-a halves’. ( 2 x 9½ ). Of course, we know what he means but please join me in my attempt to rid our game of this crazy habit of assigning numbers to roles in a team. Maybe we could have the courses and our assessments to try to stop coaches talking (silly). I can’t do it by myself. So, instead of a 9 and a 10 coaches want to have two 9½s. No need for a calculator here. Maybe if we play without wingers 7 and 11, we can have two 9s. Get it ?  7 + 11 = 18 = 9 + 9. It would get a bit crowded if we already had a proper number 9 to start with, so three number 9s in all. Very attacking line-up. Or the 7 and 11 could make three 6s – no that would mean that we would have 12 players on the field. Ok, I will stop there, but I am sure you can see that there are lots of other combinations that are just as stupid as having two 9½s, just as daft as always calling the holding midfielder as the number 6, or the midfield play-maker as the 10. Can we only have one play-maker per team ? Remember when Argentina won the World Cup with Osvaldo Ardiles at Number 1. I loved that. Before squad numbers came in, at Liverpool we had a centre-back who wore the number 4 shirt but played as a number 5. How terrible. So confusing !! Steve Heighway wore number 9 as a left-winger, sorry, as a number 11. Ray Kennedy wore number 5 at left-midfield. And there’s more, lots more. Let's describe players by talking about what they do, the skills they have and emphasize their potential. So if we select a player in midfield then let's not trap him/her into just being a defensive midfielder (as if they cannot attack!) or a play-maker (as if they are unable to defend!). Particularly with young players learning the game, let's keep all options open. They are all players. Let’s keep numbers where they should be – on the back of the shirt to identify the players for the observers who don’t know who the players are. Not proper fans.  (by John Owens) 



Contact John  

​John has been with SBC since 2013. John was one of 6 auditors for the English Premier League (EPL) Football Academies for 'Foot PASS England', evaluating & ranking (EPL) Academies into 4 categories representing a significant challenge in positively impacting the development of English home grown talent. Foot PASS is also the Technical Auditor for Belgian, German and French Leagues, all of which have been hugely successful in recent years. For the 6 years John and Doublepass have been technically auditing and consulting the US Soccer & MLS Development Academies. John is one of the most respected and experienced youth coaches in the world. He was 19 years work with Liverpool Football Club Youth Academy in the English Premier League, and several years as manager for the England U16 and 'C' national teams. 

Players who have been under John's tutelage include: Michael Owen (European Footballer of the Year; Liverpool, Real Madrid, Man United & England), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool & England), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool & England), Wes Brown (Man United), Joe Cole (West Ham, Chelsea, Liverpool & England), Steve MacManaman (Liverpool, Real Madrid & England), Leon Osman (Everton), Steven Warnock (Liverpool, Aston Villa), Robbie Fowler (Liverpool & England) and Scott Parker (Newcastle, West Ham, Fulham & England).

​​Coaching & Management

  • Liverpool FC: Full time coach at Liverpool FC since 1991 (10 years full time; 9 years part-time). 1 year as Assistant Academy Manager U9-U14 age range, 5 years as Youth Team Coach U19/U18s (FA Youth Cup winners, 2006 & 2007 in the final two years as Youth Team Coach), 4 years as Academy Manager 2007-11.

  • 1995-97 England U16 Manager/Coach

  • 1997-2001 England 'C' Team Manager

  • Former Umbro USA staff coach

  • Current Doublepass Auditor


  • UEFA 'A' License
  • FA Academy Manager's License
  • FA Youth Coach's Award
  • M.Sc. Pure Mathematics
  • M.Ed. Sports Psychology
  • P/G.C.E. Teaching in Physical Education and Mathematics