One of the main things the Rough Riders preach is that hard work is what sets the best apart. And although Long Island Rough Riders’ Program Director Adam Whitehead never directly stated that this was the case in his childhood to me, it immediately became clear that his road from a small soccer diehard in Rochdale, England to his current state was predicated on hard work and perseverance.
For Whitehead, it all began in that small town of Rochdale in which his passion for the game commenced. No matter the time and place, Whitehead always found a way to have a ball at his feet, constantly looking to improve his touch and perfect his footwork. “Much of my childhood was spent playing football (soccer),” Whitehead stated, regarding his early years. “Whether it be in my backyard, the field behind my house, or even with a balloon in my house, I was always finding different ways to get better at the game that I loved so much.” Whitehead, who spent most of his youth with his Rochdale FC, his hometown club, as well as two years with the Blackburn Rovers (one of only six clubs to have won the English Premier League title), came over to the United States when he was 18 after receiving a scholarship offer from Binghamton University to play Division I soccer. Although he claims to have struggled to adjust at first due to a different style of play and various terminology, Whitehead eventually adapted and became a star at Binghamton. His game was similar to that of his idol, David Beckham, as he loved to distribute the ball through the midfield and create chances. The electric playmaker totaled 17 career assists, the most in Binghamton history during the Division I era.
Now just four years removed since he last took the field with the Bearcats, Whitehead is now helping to run our training series and camps, as well as coaching in our select and premier programs. His growth since he joined our team back in September has been astounding to watch. Flavio Ferri, the Chief Operating officer of the Rough Riders, had this to say regarding Adam: “The Rough Riders are constantly in search of quality coaches who possess a passion for the game, strong character and the ability to connect with youth players. Adam has all of the above and we feel he will make an excellent addition to our staff.” Much of Adam’s coaching style lies in his English roots. With U.S. soccer being widely regarded as a step or two behind in technique than that of Europe and South America, Whitehead preaches improving the fundamentals, especially footwork, to help prepare our players for the next level.
We look forward to his continued growth as a coach and a person, as well as his assistance in advancing the growth of the Rough Riders as a club and a community.
Staff Writer, Jackson Heil