A young football coach from Brecon with World Cup hopes has already made big strides in the football industry. 

Patryk Bialowas has already had successes with his hometown team in Poland, Sokol Ostroda, in the Polish 4th Division, two Hinton sides in the Herefordshire divisions and has recently worked with Hereford FC.

Patryk is a former Brecon High School pupil and started out playing in the area for local clubs, including Brecon Corries in their youth setup.

He decided to stop playing aged 15 partly due to the coronavirus pandemic.Studying at Hereford Sixth Form College, Patryk’s initial ambition was to build a career in the legal sector and to go on to study at Cambridge University.

For the most part, it looked likely that this plan would happen, with Patryk having excellent grades and gaining work experience with law firms across Herefordshire.

Patryk then decided to take a small side volunteering position working at a local club as a football coach, for no other reason than for fun and good experience.

After reaching out to the local County Football Association, Patryk was pointed in the direction of a few local clubs willing to take on any inexperienced coaches.

He ended up joining Hereford Lads Club as a youth assistant coach for the Under 8s team.After a week or two with the Under 8s, the head of youth director found out that Patryk used to play as a goalkeeper and asked him to coach some young goalkeepers from the Under 12s and Under 14s teams.

At this time, Hereford Sixth Form College had organised a two-day trip to Cambridge University for students, applying to Cambridge, which Patryk went along to.

This trip was the point where Patryk decided that Cambridge might not be for him, he said: “I went there and stayed in one of the student dorms and went and saw all the colleges and lecturers and students.

"And with no disrespect intended towards their university, and to be blunt, I did not like it at all.

"So, when I got back to Hereford, I didn't really know what to do moving forwards because it pretty much threw off my 'life plan'. I just threw myself into coaching a lot more after college, and I worked with the U11s, U12s, U14s and U16s boys teams as well as the U12s and U11s girls teams.“

It was during that period I realised I love working in football, I didn't really know much about making a career or anything in football other than being a player, but I realised that I just loved football too much and I probably wouldn't be happy working in any other industry for the rest of my life.”

Following on from this realisation, Patryk then joined Hereford FC as a voluntary media assistant, which worked well for him, as he used to run a small video editing company.

In this role, Patryk filmed clips during matches, helped make some TikTok videos and other content for the club.

Patryk spoke about the difference between working for Lads Club and Hereford FC, he said: “To go from watching the Hereford Lads Club youth teams with a crowd of maybe 20 people on a random pitch, to then go work as a pitchside video person in a stadium that regularly holds thousands of people was the most sensational feeling imaginable. I honestly cannot describe it but it was that moment after helping during my first Hereford FC match that I decided I was going to make a career in football work no matter what.“

I printed off a massive list of all my skills and abilities of media work and made a massive book of potential content ideas and so on, and I walked in next week for the match and gave my boss at the time - head of media - all the paper and basically said 'I know I'm new and just a kid, but I've got a load of ideas here and I'd love to do any additional work that could help the team.’ 

“Alongside this I also spoke to as many people at the club as I could and just asked, what their job was? How did you get into the industry? Do you have any advice for someone looking to break into the Industry?“Eventually, I spoke to the head analyst Alex Jenkins, who led me to shadow him and in a brief nutshell of my background prior to moving to Hereford, I was known to be really good at maths, it was just something that had always clicked for me right from as young as six or seven all the way through my life, even to the point that my primary school hired a former university math lecturer to come in once a week and teach my foundational work for university/ A-level maths when I was about 10/11.

 “So when I shadowed Alex, and found I could combine coaching and maths... and do this as a job, this blew my brain.”

Hereford’s Head Analyst, Alex, saw Patryk’s passion and work ethic and offered him a voluntary recruitment analyst position for Hereford FC when he was just 17.

In this role, Patryk used software to tally and track several different things a potential signing does in a match whilst watching a couple of filmed matches from earlier in the year to use objective data to recommend players.

Patryk Bialowas.
Patryk coaching in front of the Meadow End at Edgar Street Stadium with Hereford FC. (Taken by Adam Corbett.)

Following pre-season, Hereford offered Patryk an unpaid first-team assistant performance analyst position. Discussing this, Patryk said: “It was pretty hard to believe because this internship was usually only reserved for third year university students or recent graduates who were studying or studied a sports performance analysis degree - so to be offered it at only 17 whilst I was still a first year A-level student was incredible.

“So much so that I also reached out to the head of boys and girls youth technical director at Hereford FC and convinced him, despite my lack of experience and age, to offer me the position of lead U18's analyst.”

For the 2022/2023 season, Patryk has been the Hereford First team performance and recruitment analyst and also the lead Under 18’s analyst.

Patryk Bialowas.
(Taken by Adam Corbett.)

Hereford FC finished 16th in the National League North this season and have recently appointed Scottish coach and former Birmingham City, Swindon Town and Celtic player, Paul Caddis, as first team manager for the start of next season.

Despite his role at Hereford, Patryk wanted to get some experience in coaching to work his way up.

Patryk Bialowas.
The Hereford FC first team and coaching staff pictured on Edgar Street Stadium's pitch. (Pic provided. )

He had a problem with finding teams that would take him as he had little experience, Patryk explained: “All the clubs I reached out to said they can't afford to offer me any first-team coaching positions because of the risk that I had no coaching experience at the senior level and obviously people are paid at this level so even though I'd work for free, I could cost people their part time football job if I negatively effected the teams performances.

“I could have gone to work for several youth teams as a coach, but I wanted to start developing first-team coaching experience and eventually, there was this team called Hinton FC who played at the step 7 level and competed in the Herefordshire Premiership league, the problem was the only reason they were willing to offer me a position was because they were dead last in the league on minus three points and said they'd take any sort of help they could get. 

“So I joined the team as a first team coach working under the manager, which also very quickly almost in the same day, led me to also join the reserve team as a coach as well, who were bottom of the Herefordshire Division 1 on minus four points.

“And within the four-ish months I was there, both teams were officially out of the relegation zone and had picked up a handful of points which just marginally put them in a safe standing.

“I in no way think I was the reason for the sudden turnaround, but it was nice to know that I was part of the team during its successful period during the season. Unfortunately, when I left both teams, they started struggling again but I'm sure they'll avoid relegation and be alright for another season.”

Around about the same time, Patryk’s hometown team in Poland, Sokol Ostroda, were relegated last year and started this year in the Polish 4th Division.

They were fully expected to go right back up and win the league, however after nine games, they had only gotten one win, and two draws, putting them in 15th out of 18 teams, and at risk of relegation. 

Having seen their struggles, Patryk wanted to get involved. He noticed that the Polish 4th Division posts the majority of their matches to YouTube. Patryk said: “I sent several emails to Sokol Ostroda asking if I could be an unpaid opposition analyst for the team so that I can help them not get relegated.

“After a few more poor performances they finally reached back to me, and they asked if I could call and speak with the manager himself, and we discussed who I am, why I want to help, how I'd help and what I'd do.

“And given the conversation was in Polish which is not as fluent as my English because I have predominantly lived in Brecon most my life, the manager was very hesitant and also explained my lack of experience and age were the main reasons they initially chose not to respond to me; however, they said I can have one game and then they'll decide. 

“I went to work and created a really comprehensive breakdown of the opposition and turned my findings into a presentation to present to the manager, who then in turn used parts of it to present findings to the players and thankfully, the team went onto win that match, so I was given a few more matches and during my time at the club which lasted 3 months.

“We went onto be unbeaten, we won six matches and draw the following two, losing absolutely none, which put us only eight points off the top of the league."

In Poland there is a three-month winter break at the halfway point in the season, where Patryk left the club, relieved that he could contribute towards helping his hometown team not have back-to-back relegations, although Patryk does not believe he was the reason for the team’s turn in form.

Patryk has now recently taken up the role of head coach of Unathletico Madrid C.F, a six-a-side team playing in the Herefordshire six-a-side league.

Despite the name being a joke, the team is very much set to start competing and hopes to start moving up the ranks and gain promotion within the next few seasons.

The team is only two seasons old, and Patryk has only been in charge for two games which they have lost both 5-4 and 5-3.

Patryk Bialowas.
Patryk (right) with a member of Unathletico Madrid receiving a man of the match award. (Pic provided.)

Patryk told the Brecon & Radnor Express: “I do believe the team is on the verge of turning its form around.”

Looking to what the future holds for his coaching career, Patryk said: “In terms of next season, I'm currently in talks with a Polish team to join as an opposition analyst and again also with a Portuguese team to also join as an opposition analyst, two positions I will also do remotely, similar to the Sokol Ostroda one, and will most likely be doing on the side for next season.“

Other than that, I'm open to new opportunities and speaking to a few clubs, obviously I may stay at Hereford FC but given the new managerial appointment, conversations will need to be had in due time of course.

“In terms of long term future, and where I would like to end up, I've been quite honest to people I've spoken to about this, and although it is certainly a long way away, my goal is to end up working for the Polish National Football team and then go onto help them in a senior role either as a coach, analyst, head coach etc and then go onto win the World Cup. 

“Sure it's a long shot, but we've won the Olympics in football before back when the Olympics were deemed more respected than the World Cup for football, and we've finished in respectable places in the World cup before, and yes in recent years we've been quite poor, lucky to make it out of the group stage.

“But football is a crazy unpredictable game, and quite frankly we won't win if we don't try, so I'm going to give it my best shot and help restore pride to my team.”