We are the first continental player platform in the U.K. to prepare players for a professional career in leading European leagues. Our coaching is based on a mix of German and Dutch philosophy, designed to provide players with opportunities in Holland, Belgium, Germany and France.
All Continental Aspire Soccer coaches are U.E.F.A. qualified to a minimum of “B” level, with extensive experience in youth and child development. They have played and coached at the highest levels in the professional game.
Our unique philosophy is instilled by our coaches in all age groups, with a goal of developing confident and independent players with the right mental attitude to create a long and successful career in football.
Continental Aspire Soccer is led by co-founder and CEO, Nick Donnelly who comes from a family steeped in football history. Nick had a professional career in the game in the U.K and Ireland, and after his career was cut short due to injury, Nick turned his talents to coaching and recruitment where the vision for Continental Aspire Soccer was born.
“Develop and grow with the aim of becoming an Academy Pro”
Continental Aspire Soccer provides professional development and Education for the next generation of footballers, allowing players all around the world to come and be a part of the CAS player pathway, which leads to professional clubs & various educational opportunities.
Players will have the chance to develop and grow with the aim of becoming an Academy Pro in Leagues such as the Austrian Bundesliga, Belgian Pro League, Dutch Eredivisie, German Bundesliga, Swiss Super League, and Italian Serie A.
But more than that, we seek to develop the person as well as the player.
Nick Donnelly gives an insight into his background in the professional football and soccer industry, as well as his coaching experience.
Nicholas Donnelly comes from a family rich in football pedigree. He is the grandson of football legend Jackie Donnelly who won every club trophy coming through the ranks of the Academy of Glasgow Celtic and then Linfield, the most successful club in Britain.
Nick was with Manchester United as an Academy player until 1996. went on to play for the Northern Ireland schoolboys, later on the Northern Ireland Under 21’s and was called up against Greece in April 2003. Clubs that he was with include Linfield. Newry Town FC. Crusaders (Northern Ireland Premier League) and DC United (MLS).
Since retiring at the age of 22. Nick obtained a degree in Football Coaching with an emphasis on Elite development and Child Psychology from the University of Ulster Jordanstown in 2005. He was then offered various coaching roles in North America and Northern Ireland as well as coaching internships at Manchester United.
Sheffield United and Burnley FC. However, he opted to go to Dallas, as one of the youngest Directors of Coaching in US Youth Soccer before working with Nike in Chicago, in 2010 with Manchester United and the Irish Football Association, and at that point CAS was born alongside his coaching and recruitment roles for both club and country.
Senior in-house ID scout at Continental Aspire Soccer
Greg played football at Stella Maris FC in Dublin and went on to start his senior career at Bohemian FC, Ireland only to have a nasty injury which forced him to chase his dream at the coaching end of the game.
He coached at Stella Maris FC for 20 years, winning numerous trophies, including all Ireland cups. After a period of coaching at Charlton Athletic FC, London, Greg pursued his coaching career at Fulham F.C. and worked for 13 years under Malcom Elias. He successfully recruited some Irish players to the professional ranks in Fulham, such as:
Greg also had many top players on trial with Fulham FC and Charlton FC that signed for top clubs in English premier and Scottish premier leagues.
Continental Aspire Soccer's Coach
Ken is the coach U 23 of the Belgian Pro League Royal
Antwerp F.C. club.
His family played for the Royal Antwerp since 1911.
Ken started his football career at the age of 8 when he
joined Royal Antwerp F.C. Division 1., where he
progressed to the Reserves.
Later he played for Turnout (Championship) an Oude
God Mortsel (League 2)
Head of PDP, FDP & YDP
Having played as a professional in the III Division of Dutch football. Upon retirement from playing Jan got a degree in Physical Education and Elite Level Performance, later on studying for a Masters Degree at the Johan Cruyff Institute in Directorship.
Our Head of PDP, FDP and YDP comes from Holland where he cut his teeth at Williem II of the Dutch Eredivise Tilburg Club where he held numerous positions. He joined the club in 2000 and he was the U16 coach in the Williem II Academy before being promoted to being the U19 coach in the Academy moving through to coach the Williem II Reserves in the Dutch Jupilar League which is the Dutch 2nd division league. Jan then moved from the Academy becoming the first team coach and later Assistant Manager.
Coaching and managing notable players who are now global icons Virgil Van Dijk, Frenkie De Jong, Mousa Dembele, Vurnon Anita and Jurgen Locadia to name but a few. His final appointment with Williem II was Head of Academy and Education.
Health, Fitness and Adventure Director
Stuart has 30 years experience in the health and fitness industry including sports, medical, private, military, events and corporate sectors.
Stuart brings with him a broad range of skills in the fitness industry that will complement any coach, player or athlete that he works with.
He is passionate about improving total fitness within individuals and enhancing team performances physically, psychologically and emotionally.
He has coached thousands of people throughout his career, developed fitness clubs, organised international races and events, as well as helped professional bodies, develop specific programmes for athletes.
As a coach, he is primarily focused on developing camaraderie, ethics and mindsets that enhance the whole team.
Stuart has worked with Arsenal soccer academies coaching youth players and with Cardiff City, a youth academy developing strength and conditioning programmes for coaches and players. He has worked with netball and rugby teams and coached hundreds of people in endurance events and obstacle challenges.
Player and Parent Welfare Officer
Jago Lott Southampton & Ex-Bristol academy player who has moved to America to play College Soccer and has recently gained USL 1 & 2 experience to get Drafted for the MLS. Ex-Bristol City Pro.
“My name is Jago Lott and I believe that playing elite-level football is the best thing that has happened to me.
Experiences like captaining Bristol City U18 to a 3rd place finish in the Youth Development Premier League and my district team to the quarter-final of the Gothia Cup (“The Youth World Cup”) are moments in my life that I will never forget.
However, football has also taught me how to deal with failure; I was released from Southampton FC (when I was 12) and Bristol City FC when I was 18 and these moments remain incredible lows in my life that I have had to overcome.
I am now 20 years old and playing “soccer” in America under a full scholarship at University whilst working towards my degree in Psychology, I have played semi-professionally here too in the USL 2 and am working towards an MLS contract in the next two years.
Over the past two years, Nick and Continental Aspire Soccer have supported me in ways that go far beyond what the average business and businessman do.
They have helped me to become the man I am today through their guidance inside the world of soccer and also beyond it. I first was introduced to Nick and subsequently CAS when asking my connections on LinkedIn to do an interview with me for a college project in an entrepreneurial mindset class I was taking.
Since that day my admiration for the work that Nick and CAS do has grown and grown. They aren’t just helping people achieve their soccer dreams (and they certainly are doing that!) they truly are changing lives.”
Player Placement Coach for PDP Players into Continental Europe
Having started his coaching career in his native Croatia before heading to complete a Physical Education Degree (BA) at UCLA.
Ivan works directly with Nick, the CEO & Founder, they make the final decisions on all players, whether they are transitioning from Continental Aspire Soccer USA Headquarters in Florida or Continental Aspire Soccer UK & Ireland. Having gained extensive coaching experience in the US at High School club and college levels, Ivan then returned to Croatia where he took up club coaching roles in Croatian Premier League before being appointed Assistant Coach of the Croatian U21’s National Team.
Before being appointed Sporting Director at Legia Warsaw and then moving to Croatia as a Co Sporting Director alongside Croatia and Chelsea legend Mario Stanic at Hajduk Split and now has become an integral part of Continental Aspire Soccer.
Head of YDP & PDP
Having started out at Manchester United as a player in the Academy in the 1980s through to the mid 1990s before a knee injury ended his career. Paul embarked on a coaching career at Manchester United, the Serbian Football Federation and the Japanese FA on all coach education.
Paul’s top level experience will aid the development of all aspiring Academy professionals and he needs no introduction and is one of the best coaches in the Academy side of the game in Europe. He is highly esteemed and highly regarded by a lot of the top managers in the professional game.
Paul was invited to take up the role as the Head of the Liverpool Academy in Toyoko, Japan but he declined this opportunity to take up a position with the Continental Aspire Soccer team.