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First team

Purches receives UEFA Pro Licence

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

First-team coach Stephen Purches was this week awarded with his UEFA Pro Licence after finishing the fifth and highest level of the FA's coaching badges.

To cap off over 18 months of hard work, Purches and his fellow Pro Licence graduates, whose number also included former Premier League players David James, Nigel Clough and Steven Reid, celebrated their achievement this week with a special ceremony at St. George's Park, the FA's national football centre.

With Gareth Southgate involved throughout the course, the graduates were also sent a message from theĀ England manager directly from the Three Lions' training base in Russia.

Purches spoke further about the achievement: "The course is a tough one to get onto in the first place but once it's done you're pleased that you've been on that coaching journey.

"First you go through the interview process and are then invited onto the course, altogether it's over about a two year period.

"Part of the course were study visits, we went to Poland to watch an under-21 tournament last year and then we'd get together four-day blocks every three months throughout the two years."

The UEFA Pro Licence is mandatory qualification for all first-team managers who wish to work in the Premier League and also enables graduates to coach around the world.

Purches went into further detail on the course: "We covered different aspects of coaching in today's game and then ended with a dissertation piece that you have to put together and present for the final block.

"Hopefully by the time you've done all that the evidence is there for you to pass and then graduate, as happened for us this week."

Purches' route through the FA's demanding coaching qualifications started some years ago, with the former full-back explaining his motivations for earning his Pro Licence.

"I started my coaching badges quite early during my playing career and this is a huge piece of the puzzle I wanted to attain in regards to my role at the club, and they've supported me throughout the time I've been working through my badges," he said.

"It's been a case of gaining as much knowledge as I can and making contacts on the course, hopefully that can then benefit everyone.

"Coming on these courses allows you to see what the trends are and what's current not just at our club but around others, as well as the FA and everything they're doing with the England teams throughout the different age groups."

With the graduates coming to the end of their qualification journey, this week St. George's Park hosted an evening to celebrate their passing through.

"The FA put on really big occasion because they think it's a big achievement to go on and get the qualification," Purches said.

"Hayley McQueen from Sky Sports presented the awards, it was a great evening and it allowed the 24 of us to celebrate after finishing off the course that we've all been putting hard work towards in the last two years."

With the England senior team making a winning start to their ongoing World Cup campaign, Purches fed back on the FA's current drive to raise the level of elite coaching in this country.

"People like Nicky Butt and Nemanja Vidic all have to go through this process and were on the course, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are now set to complete theirs over the next couple of years," he said.

"It's something that the FA are really pushing, getting coaches to develop and help England as a nation to produce players to carry on becoming a force in world football."

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