Not many people involved in the Non League game can say they have been an assistant to an old assistant of Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman’s.
Silsden under 23s manager Jacob Mistry can and he’s only 21.
Mistry is in first year in charge of the under 23s at Silsden, but in a ‘previous life’ he assisted the current Celtic Women manager Fran Alonso for a year with the University of Liverpool men’s football first team. Alonso previously assisted Pochettino at Southampton and then Koeman at the Saints and then Everton. I know, wow, what a mentor.
“It was in my second year at University where you have to get work placements coaching,” Mistry tells Non League Yorkshire.
“I got a job coaching the Liverpool University men’s second team and the first team manager was Fran Alonso and he had just left Everton.
“He was the assistant coach at Everton and he’d worked for Pochettino at Southampton as an assistant. I worked under him for that season.
“I’ve never seen or experienced that level of coaching and football before. That was the start for me really. I was really privileged to have worked under him because of the people he had worked for in Pochettino and Koeman and still to this day he’s still my main inspiration.
“Being around that environment was brilliant for me because of the way he planned sessions, how intense he was, how organised he was. The sessions were off the scale to what I’d ever seen before.
“There is a pub which is linked to the Uni and we’d go back and one single thing mentioned about football and he’d speak to you for ages about it.
“He told some great stories to do with Everton and Southampton. I still stay in touch with him and when he left he told me to stay in touch. One day you never know we may reconnect.”
Mistry enjoyed success in his third year of University as he coached the Liverpool John Moores University women’s first team to a double success.
The coaching journey actually began at Craven College five years ago under the tutelage of Luke Swindlehurst, the former Preston North End women’s boss.
“I went to College when I was 15 five years ago and I did a BTEC sports coaching course,” he says.
“That gave me a bit of experience as I worked with Luke Swindlehurst who had just left Liverpool Women at the time so he was and is an elite coach.
“He was my coach at the time and we went to Finland for two weeks to coach an academy out there and from that moment in Finland, I realised I wanted to go into coaching.”
Silsden came calling in February after Mistry emailed several clubs asking about potential opportunities. Silsden first team manager Danny Forrest replied and the rest is history.
Alongside assistants Sam Ash and Sohail Abbas, Mistry has already enjoyed success with the under 23s.
“When I was finishing Uni, around February I started emailing local clubs, Steeton, Silsden to try and get coaching hours to continue doing my badges,” he says.
“Danny came back to me about the under 23s job. It was brilliant opportunity. I know a lot of people who play for Silsden so I knew the level and I thought under 23s, that’s quite a big job again.
“So that’s three jobs in a row where I thought these are really good opportunities. It was something I was really excited to take and it is going really well.
“Including pre-season we have played about eight or nine games and we have only lost one. We have won both league games and we’ve attracted some really good players.
“Our captain Harry Parsons is now a regular for the first team. He played in our first league game and for the following Saturday he called up for the first team and he was man of the match.
“We also have five or six who are training with the first team every week so we’re not just bringing in quality for us, we’re bringing them in with the aim of getting them into the first team.”
At 21 he will be one of the youngest under 23s manager out there, if not the youngest. But Mistry is not one to shout about his age.
“If I was an employer and there was someone the same age as me and then someone with more experience or more badges, they’d get the job,” he said.
“I am confident in my own abilities and I know I am a very good coach and I know what I’m talking about.
“As soon as I’m there and I can speak to someone that I can their respect straightaway. Sometimes I don’t like mentioning my age to players or people. I just like to show them what I can do and gain their experience that way.
“Gaining respect for me is about good sessions, good tactical analysis, good team-talks.”
With age on his side, and with quite a degree of experience and contacts, the world is surely his oyster.
“Ten years’ time I’ll be 30 and hopefully I’ll be in a first team manager role at a club a couple of leagues higher than Silsden or if not, working at an academy at a pro club,” he says.
“At the moment I work as an teaching assistant at a school and the kids might say ‘why are you a teacher’? I’ll say ‘I’m not there yet’.”
Misty is certainly a coach to look out for in the future.
If you have enjoyed reading Non League Yorkshire over the past few months, please consider making a donation to the not-for-profit organisation NLY Community Sport which provides sport for children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. CLICK HERE to visit the JustGiving page. There is a video at the bottom of the page showing our work.
NLY Community Sport, run by James Grayson and Connor Rollinson, has always had combatting social isolation at the top of our objectives when running our Disability Football teams. When we properly return to ‘action’, our work will play an important role in reintroducing our players, who have disabilities and learning difficulties, back into society.
We have six teams, a mixture of Junior and Adult teams – Nostell MW DFC, Pontefract Pirates, Selby Disability Football Club and the South Yorkshire Superheroes (Barnsley) – across Yorkshire.
We have enjoyed great success over the past three years. Several of our players have represented Mencap GB in Geneva, including Billy Hobson from Selby and Greg Smith, whose story is quite inspiring.
Watch the video below to see highlights from our three years as an organisation. The video was produced for our players at the end of March to remind them of good memories from the last three years.