Belfast Telegraph

Who is Mick McDermott? All you need to know about the man who rejected Colombia's national team to manage Glentoran

Mick McDermott
Mick McDermott

Mick McDermott has been appointed as the new manager of Glentoran at the expense of Colombia.

The club is close to securing new investment with McDermott's arrival all part of what will be viewed as a fresh start of the Oval club.

So just who is the new man at the helm and how did he come to reject the chance to coach at Copa America to work in east Belfast?

Who is Mick McDermott?

Age: 45

Hometown: Belfast (Glencairn)

Playing career: McDermott played a lot of his underage football in his native Northern Ireland for both Cliftonville and Distillery before making a move across the Atlantic on a soccer scholarship with the University of Rhode Island. He graduated into what was then the third tier in the USA, playing for Long Island Rough Riders, Connecticut Wolves and Raleigh Capital Express.

International experience: He played underage football for Northern Ireland back in 1992 and went on to coach at Iran. Intriguing, yes, but more on that later.

So when did his coaching career begin? After he retired from playing in 2002 at Connecticut Wolves, he stepped into the dugout to become assistant manager. It was perhaps unsurprising, given that he had earned a BSc in Physical Education during his university scholarship and also completed the US equivalent of UEFA's A license. Coaching roles at Quinnipiac University (Connecticut) and Oregon State University followed before what would prove to be another fruitful international move came along...

The move to United Arab Emirated: It's a bit of a strange story. Then nine-time United Arab Emirates league champions Al Ain were on the look-out for a fitness coach and their search brought them to a jiu-jitsu academy in New York. As fate would have it, McDermott was a friend of the trainer and had his services recommended. Making the move in 2006, he would go on to work alongside current Brazil manager Tite and former Internazionale goalkeeper Walter Zenga, who both managed Al Ain for short spells in 2007.

He has friends in high places then? Absolutely and we haven't even mentioned former Real Madrid and Portugal chief Carlos Queiroz yet.

Go on: Well Queiroz was appointed as Iran manager in 2011 and Dan Gaspar, his goalkeeping coach, was seemingly the link to McDermott. Gaspar was McDermott's coach at the Connecticut Wolves at the start of the century and went on to become goalkeeping coach for Queiroz at Portugal in 2009. When the boss was axed by his native country and moved to Iran, Gaspar followed and it was there that the pair were joined by McDermott.

Where has he been since then? McDermott left the Iran national set-up in 2012, and returned to the UAE, where his family had remained, to become assistant coach at Al-Nasr Sports Club, initially to Italian star Zenga. Then it was back to Iran with Esteghlal before returning to the international scene for a second time.

International coaching part two: He returned to the Iran set-up to once again link up with Queiroz, helping the side to a group stage win over Morocco and a notable draw with Portugal in the 2018 World Cup finals.

What about Colombia? Queiroz announced after Iran's 3-0 defeat to Japan in the semi-final of the Asian Cup that he would not be renewing his contract. He was appointed as manager of Colombia at the start of February and, although McDermott was originally due to join him, the Belfast man has now confirmed that he will not be part of the coaching set-up for this summer's Copa America tournament as he "couldn't turn down this exciting and challenging opportunity to rebuild" Glentoran.

What has he said about working with Queiroz? "In my career so far, I've worked and coached under 14 different managers and learned a lot from each. Working with Carlos has been like a football PHD as he is one of the most demanding coaches in World football," he said.

What about his coaching badges? Glentoran, of course, require a manager qualified to coach in Europe if they're going to take their place in the end-of-season Europa League play-offs. McDermott has already completed his UEFA A License and will start his Pro Licence coaching badges with the Irish FA in the summer.

Glamour friendly for Glentoran then? Well his friends are still in big jobs. Could we see Tite's Brazil or Queiroz's Colombia at the Oval? Na. Wouldn't think it. Walter Zenga is in charge of Serie B side Venezia though...

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