In this interview, we sit down and talk with two coaches whose careers have taken them to 6 different countries across 5 different continents. James de Lacy, Head of S&C at the Romanian Rugby Federation and Josh Fletcher, Human Performance Manager at EXOS will talk about their journeys, experiences and lessons learned along the way, providing coaches with key take away messages which they can apply to their careers in any country.
Can you briefly introduce yourselves and your journey?
I was a late starter, quitting personal training at 26 for an unpaid internship with the English Institute of Sport, from here I secured a multi-sport job with them, this time really set the technical foundations for me as a coach. But my role with Rotherham Titans Rugby club is where I really earnt my stripes and how to apply principles. A relentless, blank canvas role where I learnt from so many mistakes that I came out the other side almost unrecognisable as a coach (in a good way).
I moved out to India where I worked for a new start up called The Inspire Institute of Sport, a wealthy family had basically built an institute of sport from scratch along with sponsoring a group of elite athletes and professional football team Bangaluru FC. I coached a range of athletes on their books and also helped the talent ID process which saw us travel India and recruit around 80 young boxers from aged 7-24 years old.
A crazy time which was fantastic for me as a coach and person. In my current role with EXOS I am working on a military project in Romania delivering S&C and coach development services, absolutely unchartered territory in another diverse environment. Safe to say I haven’t really done much the easy way in my career so far!
I started my internship while I was studying my undergraduate degree with a professional rugby league team. I ended up working there unpaid for 3 years while getting my feet wet in premier club and regional rugby league. I was getting turned down for every job I was applying for, even getting to the point I had to re-apply for my unpaid job as the strength and conditioning coach for the junior academy, which I didn’t even get! The extra kick in the nuts was being told I can continue interning if I would like.
Luckily, through the friends/connections I made while working, I was offered my first full-time, professional rugby job in Romania. Sadly, due to corruption and mismanagement, that contract ended early and I was back home in New Zealand. To make some money while searching for a new job, I started my own sports academy. While doing this, through my friends/connections with my time working in rugby league, I landed a role with the NZ Kiwi Ferns, our women’s rugby league side. This was voluntary but I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to work my first international job.
After a year of searching for paid, full-time work and being rejected for every job, I was lucky enough to be offered a job in the newly forming Major League Rugby in USA. I spent 2 years working in Austin, Texas and loved it there. During that time, I got a call and was offered my current position with the Romanian Rugby Federation.