A football coach for the Turkey national team has told how studying at City and Islington College (CANDI) helped kick off his career.
Emre Aydemir, 36, joined the Turkish Football Federation in 2020 as an assistant coach and educator where he has worked under head coach Stefan Kuntz and his predecessor Şenol Güneş.
He previously worked as an assistant coach and educator for Arsenal in the Community, the club’s community programme for young people, after completing an Access to Higher Education Diploma in Sports Science at CANDI in 2013.
Emre developed his coaching skills at the Gunners, studying for a Foundation Degree in Football Coaching while at the club and gaining his UEFA B licence with the English FA.
He later progressed to BSc (Hons) in Sport Psychology and Coaching and graduated in 2016, and more recently he attained his UEFA A licence with the Scottish FA.
Emre, who grew up in Istanbul, played professional football for Küçükçekmece before coming to England in 2010 where he played and coached at non-league White Hart Rapids in Haringey.
“I could not continue with my playing career as a professional footballer due to a foot injury,” said Emre, who has since moved back to Turkey.
“I ended my football career as top scorer in a league in north London I played in and decided to focus on my education. I’d always had passion for football, and as I had played football I thought I could continue as a coach.”
Emre is a fan of Turkish side Fenerbahçe but adopted Arsenal as his favourite team in England while he was living in London and attending CANDI.
He names José Mourinho, who has managed two of the Gunners’ biggest rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea and is now at Roma, among the coaches he admires.
“I like Mourinho because he has been successful with teams at different levels. He is also a very disciplined coach with very good communication skills with the players,” said Emre.
“He is someone who constantly applies new strategies and different models and does not give up on himself.”
When asked what skills and attributes are needed to be a good football coach, Emre listed leadership, management, communication, observation, passion, positiviity, patience, imagination, self-motivation and a desire to do better to reach your potential.
“Coaching keeps me focused all the time. It’s important to me to establish good relations with the players and understand them and have good organisation skills and pay attention to detail,” he said.
Emre recalled how he was able to implement what he had learnt at CANDI into his university studies and this, along with his training at Arsenal and the FA, gave him the skills he needed for his coaching career.
He has particularly fond memories of CANDI where he started his journey and often mentions the college when asked about his career or when speaking at conferences worldwide.
“When I first started CANDI, I had a lack of self-confidence and thought I wouldn’t be successful,” said Emre.
“My teachers supported and pushed me to do my best. They were so helpful and believed in me. The course gave me better insight into sports science, theoretically and scientifically, which I was able to implement into my university studies.
“CANDI taught me to dream, gave me direction and encouraged me to set achievable goals. It is still a very special place for me.”
CANDI offers Sports Science courses from Level 2-3, which cover anatomy, health and safety, sports psychology, nutrition, fitness and practical sport.