Former locksmith and Tyne Metropolitan College (TyneMet) sports specialist Carl Chater has landed a prestigious role in English women’s football after finding the key to a new career.
Carl, 35, who is Head of Women’s Football at TyneMet and a coach at the NUFC Foundation, laid down his tools to return to the classroom to net a high level sports qualification.
Combined with other coaching awards and experience, it has led to his appointment as an assistant manager with the English College FA (ECFA) under 19 national team.
His coaching qualifications include FA badges at levels 1 and 2, and the sought-after UEFA B badge, a senior soccer licence.
In his new role, he is working with elite female footballers studying at colleges throughout the country who are chosen to play for England.
He has already made his mark - one of his first tasks in his new position was to support the team during a tournament in Rome in February, in which they beat Wales 1-0 in the final.
The turnaround in his career was inspired by his wife Kerry and children, six-year-old twins Leo and Holly, and four-year-old son Louis.
He was seeking a career which would make them feel proud of his achievements and which to him felt like a loved hobby rather than a job.
Carl said: “I joined the Royal Marines when I left school, but I broke my leg which led to me having to leave that and also to give up playing football.
“For a while, I worked for a mobile phone firm, and then my locksmith brother-in-law taught me the tricks of the trade.
“I set up my own business but knew it wasn’t really what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I wanted something that would make me feel more professionally fulfilled.
“I also wanted to be involved in a career that would make my family feel proud of what I was doing. I think I’m doing just that.
“I’m thrilled with my new role. I’ve a passion for women’s football and the game is in such a good and exciting place at the moment. It’s a great time to be involved.
“I can help to develop the potential that exists – women’s football is big and is only going to get bigger, there is a lot more to come.”
To gain the hard-to-get UEFA B badge, Carl was obliged to document in detail his work around coaching women players at TyneMet. Football Association coaching assessors also headed to Tyneside to watch his methods at first hand.
He is considering sitting his UEFA A badge within the next two years, a qualification which would open more coaching opportunities.
To spark his dream of working professionally in football, Carl enrolled at TyneMet as a mature student in 2013 on a two-year sports foundation degree, run in association with Sunderland University.
He has worked for NUFC Foundation for five years, with the past three years spent full-time at TyneMet under a joint partnership arrangement.
The college is starting to see the fruits of its investment in coaches and courses, with its under 18 girls team going unbeaten in 27 games this season, winning all but once.
It is a run that has seen it win the under 21 English Colleges FA (ESFA) league by five points and get through to two cup finals.
The team took on and beat SEEVIC College, Sussex, in the ESFA Girls Under 18 Colleges Trophy final on Wednesday, March 27, with a date for the final of the National Football Youth League Cup to be set.
TyneMet, which is part of Tyne Coast College, has four men’s and two women’s football teams which cater for players of all abilities.
Teams participate in the ECFA Category 1 leagues and also represent the North East Colleges League, which is exclusive to further education colleges in the region.