The Student News Site of Stratford Academy

Stratford Gazebo

The Student News Site of Stratford Academy

Stratford Gazebo

The Student News Site of Stratford Academy

Stratford Gazebo

New Coach, Same Accent

Former Head Soccer Coach James Jordan left big boots to fill.

Jordan’s sides won two girls state titles and four boys state championships, the last one coming in an overtime game against crosstown rival Mount de Sales Academy in Jordan’s final match for the Eagles last spring.

So when it came time to hire Jordan’s replacement, Stratford did the only logical thing.

Hire another Englishman.

New boys coach Ian Hayley, who kicked off his coaching career at Stratford with a 5-1 win against First Presbyterian Christian Academy on Saturday, was born and raised in England, where he trained with professional clubs before coming to the United States.

Hayley began playing on development squads at age 10, training with professional clubs that included Aston Villa, which is in England’s top soccer professional league, the English Premier League.

Hayley said his experience was typical of professional soccer in England, where talented young players sign contracts with professional clubs at a young age. At 13, players would begin training with the men and preparing for a future career in professional soccer.

“It works different in England,” Coach Hayley explained.

Some players would leave school to focus completely on pursuing a career in professional soccer, but Hayley thought differently.

“I knew the importance of school, so I stayed and continued to study. I was able to stay in school and continue to play, but I was not paid,” he said.

Hayley was released by Bristol at 16, then went to play for Aston Villa while remaining in school. He later moved to the U.S. where he played soccer for the University of Central Florida.

After graduating from UCF, Hayley began coaching at Berry college and then at Mercer University as the women’s head coach.

He also coached at the University of Wyoming before returning to Georgia to coach at Frederica Academy in Saint Simons, where he led Frederica’s varsity boys soccer team to back-to-back state championship titles in 2012-2013.

With soccer season underway, Hayley said he is excited about the direction this year’s soccer team is headed.

“It’s important for me to get to know all of the players and their abilities. I want to make sure we all get on the same page,” Hayley said. “My style of play is a little different than what they are used to, so it’s going to take some time for them to adjust.”

Hayley scheduled some tougher opponents this year, including a trip to South Carolina.

“I’m really excited about trip to South Carolina because it will allow me to see everyone play in a competitive environment. It should be a great learning experience,” Hayley said.

The Eagles will play in the Sandhills tournament starting this Friday.

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New Coach, Same Accent