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Soccer

The Irish 'keeping coach who helped Tim Howard get MUFC move

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

22:24 13 May 2020


An Irishman who is the goalkeeping coach of Colombia, Des McAleenan joined The Football Show on his colourful career to date 0 and how he helped Tim Howard to a stellar career.

McAleenan started his coaching career in kids' summer camps in the US but he quickly rose up the ranks working with New York Red Bull for a decade surviving many regime changes. He worked under Bob Bradley, Bruce Arena and roomed with Mo Johnson.

The first goalkeeper he worked with at New York, McAleenan's first professional gig, was future Manchester United and Everton goalkeeper, Tim Howard

McAleenan compares being a coach to being a psychologist, but it didn't require those skills to work out the dynamic between the rookie Howard and the incumbent goalkeeper in New York was frosty to the point of hostile when he arrived at the club.

"The starting goalkeeper, there was bad blood between the two of them," says the Irish coach, "I could sense it from day one.

"After my first training session with the two of them, in which they didn't really talk, the guy's name was Mike Ammann, he got traded to DC United and Howard was made number one.

"In the beginning, I'd say Howard was a bit defensive, a bit resistant because he had a goalkeeper coach who he liked and was a bit like 'who am I?'

"It was my first professional coaching gig and looking back I really didn't know that much at all, but I knew enough to get the job done.

"My forte would be my personality, I'm a good listener, I have a good eye and I certainly didn't hurt his career.

"I'm not going to blow my own trumpet but at the end of the year he had made his debut for the full national team, won 'Goalkeeper of the Year' in the MLS, and went to the All-Star game.

"It was a great first year, I was on cloud nine."

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