Meet the Coaches: Harry Gill

We’ve got a treat this week as we catch up with club legend and life member, Harry Gill! Harry has been playing at the playing at the club for over for 40 years and coaching for the last 20 (he has the stories to prove it). Read on to hear just a few of them.

Can you introduce yourself please:

I would have liked to coach more but just love playing too much. I first played for MUSC in 1978 and have done so ever since, barring a couple of seasons injured. I continue to play, rather slowly. I was Captain and Assistant Coach (to Robin Quinn) of the Uniblues Reserves in 2001-05 inclusive (Quinny and I are very proud of 3 championships and twice runners up in those 5 seasons), then player coach in Metro 2 in 2012 and 2013, before starting up the Bohemians Over 35s as player coach in 2019.

Why did you choose to coach for the Melbourne University Soccer Club?

I have a strong sense of how the beautiful game should be played and a strong sense of the community that is MUSC. Coaching was and is a great way to impart that to others and also to mentor young players.

What do you feel are the main benefits of coaching for MUSC?

Same as 2 but also a lot of satisfaction seeing how your own ideas turn out in practice. It also further enhances involvement in the MUSC community, I noticed how much I again became a part of it after my Saturday playing career had faded and I had felt somewhat peripheral for a few seasons.

Has there been a favourite season at MUSC, if so why?

2001, because it was a great time in my life but also because our Reserves team played some brilliant football, we were such a close knit team and we won the championship in my first year on the coaching staff. The satisfaction at the end was incomparable, even at Reserves level.

Has there been a standout player you have coached at MUSC?

There have been a number of standout players but probably the best one to coach was our very own Lachy Boughton because he always tried to follow instructions to a tee. Even when I was not making sense, the poor bastard! I would still like to coach James Xu one day, I noticed he had a lot of untapped talent when I played a few games with him in 2015, and I’m pleased to see he has progressed since then.

Who is your coaching idol i.e. who do you find inspiration from?

John Vant Schip was very impressive but really anyone who was (like John) a disciple of the legendary Johann Cruyff. Cruyff was a dynamic player but his legacy is the way he changed the game, as a player and as a coach. He basically invented the modern game.

How would you describe your coaching style?

It’s all about space, space, space. And always remembering you are painting on a big canvas. Anything further would be giving away too much, or perhaps require a long conversation at Black Pearl.

Do you have a particularly memorable moment relating to your coaching experience?

The searing relief, then joy, of the final whistle when we were 2-1 up at home to Western Eagles to clinch the 2001 Reserves championship by 3 points in front of about 100 fans (for the Reserves match!), including many alumni and personal friends. A totally different experience, a long way behind but nevertheless very satisfying, was a 4-0 win over South Yarra in 2013 in the first week of a very successful alternative formation which I was the architect of.

How do you prepare for a match on gameday? Do you have any quirky pre-match rituals?

Yes, the quirk is in getting an early night without drinking too much. I also like to finish team talks with no more than 2 slowly delivered and deliberate messages.

Besides soccer, do you have any other hobbies or passions?

A long way back from Football but I do like Golf, Philosophy and intellectual discourse.

Are you interested in joining our coaching team? Find out how to become a coach at MUSC:

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