We are delighted to present you an amazing coach and player's developer: Edu Rubio. Strong of experiences at major institutions such as Valencia CF, Chelsea FC, the Football Association and currently working at Premier League club Crystal Palace where he wears many hats. Originally from Spain, Edu has travelled to England to study and ended up staying to focusing on the development and growth at many levels of English football.Humble but ambitious, Edu gives us his opinion and advices on many football trending topics. Despite his busy schedule, he gave us some of his time to discuss about mental health, coaches and players development, as well as how he sees the football of tomorrow.Here is an amazing conversation between coachbetter - your digital assistant coach and Edu Rubio!
Coachbetter: Edu, you have an amazing background, introduce yourself in a few words?
Edu Rubio: I am Spanish, from Lleida, which is a small city near Barcelona. I am very proud from being from my city, even though I am quite global. I started playing when I was four and since then it has been a love story with football. I am very romantic and I do like the essence of the game. Of course, I love to win and to get the three points but I am a big believer that there is so much more than that. I started playing at Lleida to then go to Valencia where I played in the academy.I have always been the kind of player that analyses the situation, the captain, the one that is more vocal and that is why I decided to go to University and to study Sport Science which is very much turned into implementing a methodology and teaching football in a deeper way. Then, I got a grant to study in England, and from there I got lucky, got a job at the FA within the Football division, then got a job coaching the U14 and U15 at Chelsea FC, then at the Nike Academy, then MK Dons as Head of coaching and then Head Coach of U23, then Assistant Manager at the first team of Crawley Town FC and right now I am at Crystal Palace as a Technical Consultant, where I wear many hats.
I also have My Energy Game which I started last year in May. It is a project that is close to my heart as I have always thought that we don't put enough emphasis on player's happiness. I don't believe in duality, that you must separate the person from the player and it is proven that being happier will make you a better player. That is why I created My Energy Game which is only a website with podcasts and ressources at the moment but with the goal of turning it into something bigger in the future.
CB: What in your opinion makes a great football coach?
ER: For me a great coach is someone that is able to put the team first. Someone with a ton of empathy and compassion, and the emotional intelligence to read situations very well. Of course, this person needs some qualifications and some kind of understanding of the game, that is obvious. However, nowadays, people get their FA License, people have a decent understanding of the game, they know how to set-up a drill and know how to put a 4-4-2 in place. It is quite easy to understand the foundation of the game since it is so accessible.Now, what is quite difficult for a coach, is to inspire your players to become a team and to have a cohesion for them to perform at their best. I think this is what can truly make a difference between coaches. Communication skills in that sense are critical, not to talk only to your players but to the staff, directors, parents, and people around players.
Also, and this is very important, a coach must be brave and courageous to admit sometimes that he needs to evolve. You must be flexible and adaptable. You have to be a constant learner. You must be able to sense what the locker room needs and that might not be the same with this age group than the previous one for example.
CB: Why do you think it is so important for coaches to embrace new technologies?
ER: I believe football is a reflection of society and you can see how important digitalisation has become for all of us. You must embrace technology but like in anything in life, it is how much relevance you give it that is important. I can't forget the human relationship, as it has to be paired together to work properly.I think that, nowadays, a quick video sent to the player maximises time, helps the player and it is much more productive and effective. I like filming the sessions, I like to analyse them because I believe sometimes putting an image or a video can be much more powerful than a 3 hour chat.However, you can't let technology govern you but you must make sure that technology is there as a tool to maximise your ressources to be and do better as a coach.
CB: What are your favorite sessions?
ER: I am hesitating between High Press and Penetration into the Final Third. Let's say exercises where you must high press and penetrate quickly into the final third. I think football must be played to entertain and I would rather have a game finish in 4-3 than 1-0.
"Grassroots coaches are heroes. Honestly, certain things they go through and they do, coaches in the elite would never be able to do. Never! They have my most sincere respect."Edu Rubio
CB: How should football be developed in the next few years? What do you want to see an emphasis on?
ER: I actually had a very interesting conversation a few days ago with my friend Jan van Loon, head of coaching at Utrecht FC, and we were saying: "Do you know how society is going to be in 5 years time?" So how do you know how football is going to be like in 5 years from now, it is almost impossible to predict. Now, we can be assertive in the kind of players, and coaches we want to develop for five years down the line. However, you can't really know and predict what life will throw at you and the current situation is just the best symbol of it.
I'd like Football to be developed in being more connected and connecting people. I want clubs to be more empathetic with their fans, to be truer to their roots and closer to their communities. What I'd like to see is a humanisation of the sport because I feel that we lost and are losing the romance that made us fall in love with the beautiful game.
CB: How different it is to coach at a club like Chelsea or at an amateur club?
ER: The Pay check! 😂 and the ressources that you have at your disposal. The rest shouldn't change for me: it's a coach with a set of players, the passion to develop these people, the ability to connect with these people, the commitment to make them better and your professional standards shouldn't be dropped rather you are in grassroots or in Chelsea FC or Crystal Palace. That's why I say the main difference is the pay check and the ressources available.Then, obviously, depending on the players you coach, you will need to adapt your training sessions. However, that must happen at the elite level or grassroots. It will never be the same to coach Crystal Palace U14 to coach Crystal Palace U21. You have to understand how to pitch your training session to make the most out of the environment to develop your players. The same as you wouldn't have some training sessions in grassroots than you would do in a premier league academy. However, if you love your job, pay check and ressources (how well the pitch is for example) should be the only differences.
For me, grassroots coaches are heroes. When I was working at the FA, one of my job was to go and support grassroots clubs, going coaches to coaches. Honestly, certain things they go through and they do, coaches in the elite would never be able to do. Never! They have my most sincere respect.
Get To Know Edu More!
CB: Guardiola or Mourinho?
CB: Victory or Growth/Development
CB: Messi or Ronaldo
CB: 4-3-3 or 3-5-2
CB: 4-1-4-1 or 4-4-2
CB: Spain or England?
CB: Winning the World Cup w/England or Winning the CL with Palace?
ER: Winning the World Cup with England 🏆
CB: Sadio Mane or Wilfried Zaha?
CB: Padel or Cricket?
CB: Fish and Chips or Paella?
ER: Fish and ChipsRead more articles and access unlimited football content at coachbetter.com and unlock the best coaching version of yourself!