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7 Elite Academy Online Masterclass Season One (Ep6): Gary Lewis

Seattle Sounders Academy Director Gary Lewis has described working with Manchester City Assistant Coach Rodolfo Borrell and Barcelona General Manager Pep Segura during the Episode Six of the 7 Elite Academy Online Masterclass.

Borrell and Segura – two of the highest-rated coaches in world football – worked alongside Lewis within Liverpool’s youth system from 2009 to 2014, before the Merseyside man took up positions with Philadelphia Union and then Seattle.

Lewis was talking with 7 Elite Academy Technical Director Anthony Godfrey as part of a successful masterclass series that has also included collaborations Wil Trapp, Stephen Warnock, Martin Ho, Neil Bailey and Jennifer Lace.

And he was full of praise for the Spanish pair, who played major roles in developing the careers of Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas at Barcelona, before taking up youth coaching roles on Merseyside.

He said: “It was just fascinating to see how they both worked. Pep taught us the ‘why’ of coaching, in terms of you do something for a reason. He would come to sessions at the academy and explain if they fitted in with his methodology and game models.

“Rodolfo was different and more on the field. He was a top coach in terms of details and simplicity. That was the genius of it. Everything he spoke about was just so obvious, but you never thought about it.”

Lewis started his career at Liverpool Academy with a spell as a youth coach, before moving to Derby County as Under-14s Head Coach. He returned to Liverpool in 2009 as Head of Youth Development after a three-year spell at Everton.

His move to the United States, after leaving Liverpool for the second time, was a key decision: “To get the opportunity to come over to the US is absolutely life-changing. You’re not sure what you’re walking into.

“It was a great opportunity to go to with Philadelphia. I went into a pretty new club with the Union, an MLS club. They had only been in 10 years in existence. But it is a great club.

“I arrived at Seattle, having had a good career, and there’s some great people there, looking to help out. They had just won championships, got two players signed for the first team and they had won the MLS Cup.

“I walked into a great environment and the level of detail they go into here is amazing. They look at all the scenarios that could happen in a game. They base the whole game model around solutions.”

Anthony Godfrey, Global Technical Director at 7 Elite Academy, said: “Gary is someone I have known for a long time and his level of knowledge, gained from his years throughout youth football, is fantastic.

“During their time at Liverpool, Rodolfo Burrell and Pep Segura opened so many new coaching avenues that still benefit the club to this day.

“It was fascinating to hear how Gary learned from them, but also how he took that knowledge with him to the United States and ultimately, to Seattle Sounders where he is now based.”


James Shaw