My name is Mark Bowes, I come from Nottingham, England and am married with 2 boys. Both are good athletes in their chosen sports. My youngest son only cares about soccer, (football as it should be called), and is now playing college soccer in Virginia. My eldest favors Parkour or Free Running, as it is known here. I have been in sales and marketing throughout most of my career and have been very fortunate that this has allowed me to extensively travel the world and stay involved at the highest levels in the sport of football. I have lived in 3 different countries, finally settling in the United States in 2006.
I consider myself a student of the game and don’t think I will ever stop learning about it. I believe that the game is not just about how adept players can perform the technical and tactical elements, but also how they handle the psychological part too. I am intrigued by the people who reach the pinnacle of their chosen sport, not only because of the physical skill they possess, but how their minds assist also.
There are many elements to becoming a good player, technical and tactical are two of course but decision-making is also extremely important. Improving balance, coordination and agility will make for better players and the more technical a player is makes for better decisions.
I started playing street soccer just about every day from when I was 5 years old. I played for my school through the elementary years before going on to play for The John Ferneley Academy; I was made captain of this team in my final year. I was also part of the gymnastic and track and field teams for 3 years whilst attending this school. I then went to the King Edward V11 Grammar School and 6th Form College where I played football but also, basketball, cricket and field hockey. I was made Captain of both the football and basketball teams. During my playing time at these schools we played in many county and regional leagues and tournaments, culminating in winning the County Cup in my final year.
I carried on playing into my mid twenties for regional and provincial teams until injury and work commitments took over. When I stopped playing I was involved in coaching the U8’s and U9’S for my local club during the week, whilst playing cricket at weekends.
Once my playing days were over the game was never far from my life. Part of my job was to work with some of the biggest football clubs and personalities in the English game for sponsorship and marketing purposes. I put together “Sports Evenings - An Incite into your Club” for my company’s customers with clubs such as Arsenal, Middlesbrough, West Bromwich Albion, Blackburn Rovers, Stoke City, Manchester City and Norwich City, plus many others. In total I have hosted many of these events with 22 of England’s 92 professional league clubs. I also ran these in the world of Rugby, Cricket and Horse Racing too.
I was part of the sponsorship team when English Premier League club Middlesbrough built their new stadium that was named after the company I worked for; this was in the days of Bryan Robson, Paul Gascoigne and Ravinelli. After that sponsorship ran its course we took over the main shirt sponsors of Arsenal FC, this brought me into the inner workings of one of Europe’s largest clubs and I am privileged to have been able to attend many training sessions with Head Coach Arsene Wenger, his coaching staff and of course his players at that time, who were known as The Invincibles.
I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the Head of ITV Sport Gary Newbon who was the anchor on all Champions League games for National TV coverage in the UK. I have been able to attend many live Premier League TV shows as part of my remit, this enabled me to meet and interact with some very famous names from within the game, such as George Best, Jack Charlton, Ron Atkinson and Sir Bobby Robson. This gave me an inside look at how this game has evolved over the years and how the people at the top have had to adapt. I feel very fortunate to have been able to attend not only hundreds of league games in France, Spain and England, but also FA Cup, Champions League, Euro and World Cup finals because of my profession.
One of the last things I did before leaving England was organize a National 5 aside Futsal tournament in conjunction with Britain’s largest daily newspaper. Part of the prize for the winning was to play a Derby County team as well as play a game against ex-professional Premier League Players.
After leaving England to work in Trinidad and Tobago in 2005 football was still part of my world as I worked for Digicel who are the main sponsors of the West Indies Cricket team and they were heavily involved with the Trinidad & Tobago National side which qualified for the World Cup in 2006.
After arriving in the US it was clear my youngest son wanted to play this beautiful game, so he went into the Recreation program and I was “volunteered” to become a coach. I did this for 3 Rec league seasons before getting involved coaching with travel soccer teams 13 years ago and started taking coaching courses to back up my experience. Watching the kids grow from novice players from within Rec to becoming accomplished travel players gives me a real buzz. In 2014 I became the Head coach of Florida’s newest indoor facility, holding many private and group sessions for individuals and teams from age 5 to 19. At this stage I also became involved with coaches from Argentina who were working with the Columbian Women’s National Team, I learnt new and very inventive coaching techniques from them, which I now pass this on to the players I coach. If kids have the desire to become better players, I as a coach enjoy sharing the knowledge I have gathered over my years of involvement in this game to help them achieve that. There is no other sport I would rather do this in.
Four years ago I began to get involved in College and Academy Soccer, mainly because my youngest son was approaching the age of where college soccer was becoming a real proposition for him. I started working for i2i Academy in England who in conjunction with 2 universities over there they have a very successful multi layered Soccer Academy. Not only do they have their own professional team playing in the lower English leagues but play many of the Top English League Academies such as Wolves, Liverpool and Leeds United. Many of their coaches are ex professionals for teams such as Everton, Leeds United, Derby County and Manchester United
In 2017 I started getting into High school soccer at a Private School in Boca Raton, I am currently a PE teacher there where we have soccer PE classes everyday, I am also the Girls soccer Varsity coach. Last year both our boys and girls programs went on to the Regional finals for the first time in their history.
In one way or another I have been involved in this sport all my life and as a long suffering Derby County member and supporter since the age of 5, I understand the way a team performs can affect your daily life. The kids that I coach that play this game should be challenged but enjoy it, learn but have fun, there are many downs when you play sport, but the ups far outweigh them.
I am passionate about this sport and enjoy being involved; having the opportunity to continue coaching as the game moves from strength to strength in the US is for me a pleasure.