Pitch perfect: a sports coaching graduate’s road to success at Manchester United

Taking advantage of the opportunities UCLan had to offer, Curtis secured the career of his dreams

Curtis Quinn had always been a sports enthusiast, but he wasn't sure which aspect of sport he wanted to delve deeper into at University. He decided to keep his options open by choosing to study BA (Hons) Sports Coaching and Development at the University of Central Lancashire. This allowed him to experience different areas within sport which ultimately led to him pursuing a career as an Academy Analyst at Manchester United F.C.

Curtis recalls his time at UCLan as eventful, as he had many opportunities to volunteer and gain work experience at some of the most well-known football clubs in the UK. An example of this is when he volunteered in the analysis department at Blackburn Rovers F.C. Academy during his second year. Curtis remembers this experience as his opportunity to get his “foot in the door” as he was later lucky enough to secure a full-time internship at the club the following season. Curtis said: “These experiences allowed me to learn on the job and try to put what I had learnt on the course into practice.”

After a few years of working as an Academy Analyst with all age groups at Blackburn Rovers F.C., Curtis returned to UCLan to complete a Masters in Sports Coaching before moving clubs. He said: “I moved onto Middlesbrough F.C. in 2017 as Head of Academy Analysis, staying in the role for four or so years before moving into the first team analysis department.”

"My degree introduced me to the theory of coaching styles and methods. I try to put a mixture of these into my working practice and consider which might be best for the players’ learning"

BA (Hons) Sports Coaching and Development & MSc Sports Coaching graduate, Curtis Quinn
Curtis Quinn, BA (Hons) Sports Coaching and Development & MSc Sports Coaching graduate
Curtis Quinn, BA (Hons) Sports Coaching and Development & MSc Sports Coaching graduate

In 2022, Curtis began working in his current role of Academy Analyst at Manchester United F.C. within the ‘Pro Phase’ of the Academy. He is responsible for the day-to-day analysis provision for the U18 team within the Professional Development Phase (U18-21). A key role of his role is to provide individual feedback to players, encouraging them to think about their own objectives and review their performances. This ultimately involves filming and analysing training and matches, before providing feedback for both players and staff.

Curtis said that his greatest achievement since graduating from UCLan is getting to work at one of the most reputable football clubs in the world. He said: “Gaining employment in my current role at Manchester United, a giant club where I’m lucky to work with some of the most elite young football players in the world. Seeing players I have worked with from a young age develop to now play in the Premier League is rewarding. I’ve also had a few special moments at first team level winning high level games.”

His advice for prospective students who wish to study sports coaching would be to “put the hours in and really care about what you do. A lot more hours go into it than it looks from the outside, so you need to try to master what you do and that only comes through working hard and showing up.”