Beachroad Magazine has a coffee and talks football with Soccerkids MD Ben McBride at his home in Jumeirah 1. Established in 2002, Soccerkids is currently one of the largest soccer coaching academies in the UAE and teaches all across the Emirates. They endeavor to bring together all races, ages, abilities and genders together to enjoy the globe's favourite pastime.
What inspired you to start Soccerkids and any challenges along the way?
My colleague, James Masterman started the company over 10 years ago, Ive been on board as a coach and Managing director since 2006. We have faced numerous challenges, however the biggest problems we currently have is sourcing affordable locations, and reliable and committed coaches.
Where do you see Soccerkids being in 5 years’ time?
Where do you Soccerkids in 5 years time? We are extremely focused on providing high quality coaching in a fun and healthy atmosphere for everyone and anyone who has a passion for this sport. I would like to continue to do so, and hopefully we will grow bigger and better with each passing year.
What do you think of Dubai as a city and what is your take on its rapid growth?
I love Dubai and have seen many unbelievable changes since I first arrived in 1997. Dubai has given my family and I a fantastic life, and personally I don’t think there is a better place in the world to live.
If you were not MD of Soccerkids what would you be doing?
I am also operations manager of Loca Restaurant & Bar, so I would still be in Dubai. Football is my passion and part of my life, so I imagine I would be involved in some way shape or form.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Our charity program has really grown over the past year, and we now have over 150 participants who have overcome their disabilities to enjoy the game. Seeing our coaches run the lessons and receiving feedback from the schools and centres is certainly a reward!
Your take on football in the region?
I think the UAE is definitely a football loving nation, although I would like to see more interaction with the local professional teams and the expat community. I think the youth could also benefit from more competitive leagues and not just profit based coaching academies.
Where do you like to Eat, Shop and socialise in our community?
Loca, In the Dubai Marine Beach Resort of course, but I am biased. Lime Tree Cafe is an old favourite of mine, and I love the Dow and Anchor in Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Sapporo di Bice on Al Wasl serves amazing Italian food. As for shopping, I think Mercato is a much better mall now than when it first opened, and Taste kitchen in Mercato is great.
Ben answers the Beachroad Magazine Q&A.
NAME? // Ben McBride.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // Paperboy.
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION ?// Managing Director of Soccerkids Dubai and Operations Manager at Loca.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // My children and crystal palace FC.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // Can i say death or this too morbid?.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // Playing football in the garden with my father.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // My grandmother, the most amazing generous person I have ever met.
WHO IS YOUR GREATEST SPORTING HERO? // Roy Keane, his leadership and fierce competitiveness on the field was unbelievable.
IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANY SPORTING LEGEND ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE? // George best, for social reasons.
THE BEACHROAD TIME-MACHINE CAN TAKE YOU TO ANY MATCH EVER PLAYED, WHICH WOULD YOU WANT TO GO TO? Crystal Palace v Liverpool 1990 FA Cup semi final, to watch the match with my grandfather and father once again.
YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE SPORT? Equally shared between golf and F1.
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // For my sons Birthday I gave him Football boots.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // Try and spend your life doing something you enjoy and don’t ever think adults are smart just because they are older than you.
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // A lack of patience.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // Lack of manners.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? // An uglier Keanu Reeves.
FAVOURITE MUSIC // Alternative.
LAST RECORD OR DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? // My Love Is Cool by Wolf Alice.
FAVOURITE BOOK? // Art of Happiness - The Dalai Llama.
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // Pep Confidential BY Martí Perarnau.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // I Severed an artery during a lively night out once.
FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // California.
LEAST FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // Turkey.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // Gym.
ARE YOU SPORTY? // Yes.
BEACH OR DESERT? // Beach.
URBAN OR RURAL? // Rural.
CATS OR DOGS? // Dogs.
COFFEE OR TEA? // Coffee.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // Stand up, fave comedians are Zak Galifianakis, Louie CK, Mark Maron.
WHAT MAKES YOU CRY? // Toy story 3 gets me every time.
YOUR MESSAGE? // Listen to Baz Lurman’s song ‘sunscreen’ he can say it far better than i can.