For any club to be successful, it not only has to have quality players, but top-class support staff, too. Plymouth Argyle Ladies have that in first team goalkeeping coach Jason Haswell.
The 28-year-old was a promising goalkeeper while playing for Cornish side St Dominick, until a head injury scuppered his ambition to play at a higher level. Across a playing career, in which he cites Dino Zoff and Shay Given as inspirations, Jason played for SB Frankfort, Elburton Villa, Millbrook, Ivybridge and St Dominick.
Jason was coaching at one of his former clubs, Frankfort, when he was approached by Argyle Ladies manager Dave Leonard to join him at Home Park. Jason said: “There is nothing more I would like than to start playing football, but for health reasons I was advised by the doctor to stop playing.
"When I had a conversation with ‘Lens’ about joining Argyle, as they were looking for a new goalkeeping coach, it was a no brainer really.”
Among the group, Jason is a very popular coach, and he has done a terrific job behind the scenes, coaching the likes of Michaela Phillips, Lindsay Rogers and, this season, Ben Kyle.
Unfortunately, finding and retaining quality goalkeepers to play at such a high level has always been a problem at Argyle. With Kyle calling it a day at the end of the 2019/20 season, Jason will now focus on bringing on quality youngsters, such as Maddie Walsh and Maisie Frickleton, while all the time keeping a look out for new talent.
The lockdown also has personal career ramifications for Jason, as he has put on hold his efforts to continue to gain his coaching qualifications. However, this has not stopped him from finding a way to keep his coaching habits active – through goalkeeping sessions via social media, which can be viewed on the Ladies’ Twitter channel.
Jason said: “I really enjoyed doing that, it was really good - it gave me something to focus on whilst in lockdown.
“I felt that if we could get younger kids playing at a better level in grass roots football it can only benefit us in years to come,” Jason continued. “I like doing sessions where you go straight back to basics.”
Haswell and the rest of the Argyle Ladies coaching staff have had to adapt their training methods since the coronavirus-enforced lockdown began, turning to technology to fill the gap.
“We have WhatsApp groups, we had Zoom chats with the goalkeepers,” he said. “The girls have their training schedules - but we don't want to push football, football, football. It is easy with Zoom to get hold of players and time to reflect set goals for next season.”
Despite a disappointing end to a season which promised so much for the Pilgrims, Jason is optimistic about the group’s future fortunes – whenever football can be played again.
“We will have to wait to see what the FA have to say, but I don't think you ever really stop planning or reflecting what went well what didn't, where can I improve so that when it comes to preparing for the next season you have a basic plan, you don't ever stop thinking about it,” said Jason.
“I am always looking to develop myself as a coach, but also what I can do to help the team both on and off the pitch.”