Galan ‘Getting The Coaching Bug’, But Eager To Keep Playing
When it comes to leadership figures at Valour FC, veteran midfielder Jose Galan immediately comes to mind. The well-travelled athlete has played professional football in more countries than most people have travelled to, with his storied career allowing him to accumulate plenty of knowledge on the global game.
Speaking with The Line Breaker, the 35-year-old discussed the idea of what he’ll do after he hangs up his boots, with Galan ultimately noting a number of possibilities. With the midfielder still feeling that he has a lot to offer on the pitch, however, he’s hoping that chapter of his life is still a ways off.
When Galan first arrived to Winnipeg, he arrived with the title of a twenty-club man who had played in the likes of Spain, Thailand, Indonesia, Austria, Jordan, Cyprus, Romania, Finland, Andorra, Hong Kong, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. He was looking for a stable environment to raise his young family in, and settled in well with Winnipeg-based side Valour FC.
Looking back at the league’s inaugural campaign, he remains impressed with what he saw:
For the first year, the level of organization was very high, the marketing, the number of spectators with a club founded a year ago and with no history, I think it speaks volumes about the growth that is taking place throughout Canada around soccer. That there is a World Cup in sight in 2026 helps. But the level of the Canadian player, considering that they don’t have our level of training or our grassroots soccer system, or a professional league until recently, speaks volumes about the physical and technical capabilities of the Canadian player.Jose Galan
Galan went on to make 13 appearances for Valour FC after joining in the club’s fall campaign two years ago, with the midfielder then making a further five appearances at The Island Games bubble tournament, scoring his first goal for the side against Atletico Ottawa.
Galan dedicated the goal to his three-month-old daughter, describing being apart from her during the bubble tournament as a difficult experience. While the tournament successfully ran without a single case of COVID-19, Galan says that undergoing a bubble tournament is hopefully an unrepeatable feat.
Having turned 35 this year, Galan finds himself as one of the more veteran athletes in Canadian Premier League circles. To keep fit during the offseason, he signed a one-year deal with CP Villarrobledo to play in the comparably warm climate of his home country. He’s on a verbal agreement to return to Valour FC, though what happens after that remains to be seen.
All-told, Galan doesn’t want to hang up his boots. After playing across thirteen countries as a professional footballer, transitioning off the pitch will be no easy task:
I have many doubts. I don’t want that moment to come, it scares me to be honest. I have lived by and for soccer for as long as I can remember, I have sacrificed going out with friends, vacations, partying, doing excesses of any kind to try to extend the dream and the life of a footballer as much as possible. Now I see the results because I am 34 years old and I feel better than when I was 26, that’s why it makes me more angry that doors have been closed to me because of my age and that each case is not analyzed in a different way, because each player is different, he has different conditions.Jose Galan
Galan gave himself as an example, stating that he was never a fast footballer at the age of 23 or 33. Overall, he thinks that the type of football player he is does not change much in age, offering that some of his best seasons have come in the latter stages of his career.
While Galan is keen to keep playing for as long as possible, when he does hang up his boots there are a few avenues of interest to him: the well-travelled footballer is big on sports psychology, and might also use his knowledge and contacts from the global game to dabble as a player intermediary.
After running youth clinics in Winnipeg, however, Galan also reveals that the idea of coaching has growing appeal for him, too:
Today, I am coaching U-15 boys and I think that this formative soccer is what fills me the most, the ability to improve and assimilate concepts in children between 14-17 years is amazing and that’s what I discovered this year coaching in Canada. I thought not, but I’m getting the coaching bug for the future.Jose Galan
Galan says he sees a growth in soccer fever in Manitobans at a very young age, stating that it’s in the air and that’s what he sees in Winnipeg. Suffice to say, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Galan continue on with youth coaching once he returns to Valour FC.
While last year saw league veteran David Edgar hang up his boots to focus on his own coaching career, several other thirty-plus footballers from The Island Games have continued their playing careers in the CPL: Nik Ledgerwood, Mason Trafford, Marcel de Jong, Ramon Soria, Kyle Porter, Daryl Fordyce, Arnold Bouka-Moutou, Kyle Bekker, and Jamar Dixon all re-signed contracts for the upcoming campaign.
There’s still a sentiment that the salary cap league is best-suited for young footballers taking their shot rather than seasoned veterans, with some athletes in the prime of their careers having left the game early due to the financial constraints of the league.
Galan, however, appears happy to return to the CPL, favouring the stability and quality of life offered by Winnipeg over monetary concerns. He had offers to move to Kuwait, South Africa, and a few other countries, but the Common Goal member appears to be in a place where he doesn’t need to make his decisions based solely on the financials.
The big decision of when to retire, however, is one that he’ll have to cope with one day in the future. When it comes, he hopes he’ll be ready to leave a storied career behind to begin a new chapter.
But it’s a fact of life, and I know that one day I will have to retire. I remember a phrase of Nadal who said: “I know that when I leave tennis I will never be happy again”. And I can not feel more identified, nothing will make me as happy and feel as alive as training every day, with a goal in mind, with an objective in my head as a source of motivation. That renewed gasoline that new challenges have given me and the fact of enjoying with a ball in the middle of each training session and in each game, making you forget everything for 90 minutes, as well as the adrenaline of the tunnel of the locker room and the mixture of fear and desire to get to a new locker room or country.
His third season with Valour FC will be the longest time he’s spent with any club, with Galan describing Winnipeg as the perfect mix between lifestyle and football. One needs only to take a gander at his numerous photos of the Northern Lights – among his many shots from around Winnipeg – to see his enjoyment of his new home.
Valour FC currently has fifteen players rostered for the 2021 Canadian Premier League season, with the club retaining one last roster spot on the expectation of Galan’s return. It’s not clear which domestic players will be brought in, though Gale suggested 2021 CPL-U SPORTS Draft pick Yuba-Rayane Yesli has a good chance of pushing for a roster spot.
Source: The Line Breaker