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Richmond FC's new top coach sets sights on house players

UEFA A Licence coach David Thorburn has an impressive resume on both sides of the Atlantic
Richmond FC's new technical director David Thorburn (right) is welcomed to the club by its executive director Marius Roevde

One of Richmond’s two community soccer clubs has a new face at the top and he’s immediately set his sights on the lower end, the grass roots players at house level.

Suffice to say, Richmond FC’s new technical director – Scottish import David Thorburn, who arrives with an impressive coaching, scouting and player development resume on both sides of the Atlantic – has big plans for the club.

UEFA A Licence coach Thorburn said he will tap into his decades of experience at the likes of Rangers in his native Scotland, the English FA and, more recently, at community clubs in Ontario, in the hopes to grow Richmond FC and produce top players in the process.

And, according to Thorburn, the chance to focus his attention on the youngest kids at the entry level of the sport was one of the draws that enticed him from back east.

“It was the opportunity to start from scratch at a grass roots club,” he told the Richmond News.

“The two previous (clubs) were house league clubs which I grew and turned into high-performance clubs.

“But to attain high performance, you need to pay attention to your house league players and get a higher percentage of them progressing in the game.

“If we only get 100 out of 1,000 progressing (to a higher level), I’d lose my job if it was a school curriculum. It starts with developing the coaches to develop the players.

“To ensure that the best coaches are coaching the younger ages. You need the right people heading up the right programs, from the house level right up to high performance.”

Another barrier, added Thorburn, for the likes of Richmond FC and, indeed, Canada, producing a conveyer belt of talented soccer players is the allure of hockey and the NHL dream.

“Many of the (soccer) players play hockey and play soccer on the side,” he said.

“My question to them is, if I can help make you better at this sport, would you spend two nights doing this instead of one?

“And then maybe, down the line, choose this sport? I guarantee, the better you get at anything, the more you love it.”

There was, of course, the carrot of living in B.C. for Thorburn, who was once the agent for Richmond FC’s executive director Marius Roevde, when he played in net for Scottish Championship side Ayr United.

“The location is so beautiful. I’ve been all over the world (with soccer) and this is the nicest place; and the people are so friendly,” added Thorburn.

Even though he’s only been in the door at Richmond FC a few weeks, Thorburn has the club’s summer camps bursting at the seams, with near to full registration most weeks.

“The whole training is based on attacking and defending principles, in a fun environment; small-sided games, 1v1, 2v2s.”