Fallon relishing new role with FIFA

Former Galway United coach Lisa Fallon reflects on her time with the Corribside club

It was a tough decision for Lisa Fallon to make. A productive stint with Galway United meant a solid foundation had been established by John Caulfield and his backroom staff, but a chance to work for FIFA’s high performance department was available for Fallon.

In sport questions must always be answered. So Fallon knew that valuable lessons would be learned in FIFA with the former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger now one of her bosses.

“It is hard, especially when you feel such a connection with the people involved,” Fallon says about how things can change in the game.

“Obviously I have worked with John for a long time at Cork City previously, then I was over in England. Being back with Galway - such good people at the club, there is a lovely feeling. Football is not always like that, but there are really good people in the club, who really believe in getting the team promoted, bringing the team to where the club should be.

“When you invest so much in it, obviously it is difficult, but at the same time you have to make decisions based on an opportunity.

“It was one of those ones - an opportunity that may never come again in a lifetime. It took me a while to make the decision because I needed to be certain it was the right one.”

Spending 2021 as Galway United’s first team head coach was enjoyable for Fallon, who has subsequently spent time in various places throughout the world with FIFA’s high performance department.

“I had a brilliant year with Galway, I really enjoyed it, working with brilliant people,” she says. “I was disappointed that we didn't quite get there, but it is great to see them flying now. Last year probably stands to the team this year, hopefully they can get the job done this year, but it is looking good.

“It has been an interesting couple of months, a fair bit of travel involved, but it is great. It is a bit different, but I'm getting to see football in different parts of the world. You probably don't often get the opportunity to do that, it has been very insightful, I'm learning a lot about the game, and the challenges that people face in different countries to create high performance players.

“It has been a massive learning curve from that perspective just seeing football in different parts of the world, understanding how different it is, some of the challenges and non challenges that we face in this football jurisdiction.”

That Galway United have collected 13 points from a possible 15 in the SSE Airtricity League first division so far pleases Fallon. Her respect for Caulfield, the United squad, and backroom staff endures.

“You knew it was going to take a year for the lads to adjust to the full time training, to get all of the structures in place” she says.

“There is a brilliant team there with John. Colin Fortune is so experienced - to be fair he is a manager in his own right, Colin is brilliant. Luca [Ami} the goalkeeping coach is one of the nicest human beings I have ever met in my life - he is a really brilliant goalkeeping coach, a brilliant human being.

“Danny Broderick - a fantastic strength and conditioning coach, he is young, but he really thinks about what the players need on a day to day basis in relation to the training.”

Physio Richard Grier, analyst Robbie Crosbie, and kit man Dave O’Leary have not been forgotten either.

“It is brilliant when you have people like that around, Richard Grier, the physio,” she adds. “Again a very holistic approach to player rehab and prehab, you had Robbie and Dave. These are people who commit their lives to Galway United and the club is everything to them.

“Obviously John too, so it is very difficult to move and implement change, but at the same time I knew I had given everything I had for the club in the year.”

Since November Fallon has been busy with FIFA. Meeting decorated figures in the game, exchanging ideas and innovations.

Caulfield is still making an impact in the west of Ireland which encourages Fallon. “I knew it was in good hands anyway, it was a one off opportunity and I really felt it was one I would have to take,” she adds.

“It is always a risk when you take a change, I am enjoying the new role, but I'm loving the fact Galway are flying and going so well this year. It is a long season, but I do love the fact that the team are going well so far. I hope that continues.”

**Listen to the full interview with Lisa Fallon on this week’s ‘Cian on Sport’ podcast available on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.


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