Blackpool’s Head of Coaching Richie Kyle has already turned his attention to next season, as he looks to mould a youth team capable of emulating last season’s success.
In his first season in charge, Kyle’s under-18s won the Youth Alliance North West league title, and were a penalty shootout away from lifting the Lancashire FA Professional Youth Cup.
While a proportion of those players will now go their separate ways, Kyle is now looking forward to the new challenge he has ahead.
“I’m really pleased with the players we’re bringing in next year and they’re going to fit in well with our very successful group of first years,” said Kyle.
“The first years have given me everything, and I’m looking forward to developing them even more next year.”
Along with their league success, the youngsters could take pride in taking Liverpool’s world-renowned academy all the way to penalties in a thrilling FA Youth Cup 3-3 draw, so it is easy to see why Kyle’s impact has been praised.
The Liverpudlian was hoping to make it as a player in the professional game, but a serious cruciate ligament injury scuppered his chances of earning a contract at Crewe Alexandra.
“I was at all kinds of different clubs as a youth player, on trials everywhere. At 16, I got a chance at Crewe,” said Kyle, a former Liverpool Schoolboys player.
“I was there for a few months and unfortunately I had a serious injury which ended up with me not getting a contract at the time, when I thought I had a chance of getting one.
“I tried to come back from it but done it again, so I thought I’ve got to go into coaching now. I had to put my playing days behind me and focus on how I could stay in the game.”
The 29-year-old had been coaching the under-9-11 age groups at his boyhood club Everton before joining The Seasiders.
Kyle also spent four years working for the academy at Blackburn Rovers after earning his break as a 19-year-old.
“I started doing my coaching badges at 18 when I was young and got a break to go and work for the Blackburn Rovers academy,” said Kyle.
“I worked with the 9-11s at Blackburn and thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and learned a lot from former staff, some of whom are still there now.
“I am lucky enough having been at two really big clubs with great reputations in developing youth footballers, and I’ve learnt a lot from different people along the way.
“I’ve done eight years in academy football and it put me in great stead when taking the Blackpool job.”
Kyle’s opportunity at Blackpool came through former manager Paul Ince, who he met when undertaking his UEFA A Licence.
“I met Paul a few years ago on my UEFA A license, where we studied for two weeks in London,” said Kyle.
“In the first year and the year after we went back and did another ten days, so I knew Paul through that, and when he got the job at Blackpool I got the call.
“He said I believe in you from what I’ve seen and how you’ve coached on the A license. He put his faith in me and I owe a lot to him.”
Kyle is now halfway through an ‘Elite Coaches Award’ at St George’s Park, which is a Level 5 qualification he specifically was selected to do along with 20 other coaches from around the country.