Dave Rogers on life in India and being technical director at FC Arizona in America
Rogers is poised to graduate from the 2020 batch of FAI Pro Licence participants alongside new Ireland coaches Damien Duff and Keith Andrewsby Paul O'Hehir
As a player, three-time League of Ireland winner Dave Rogers adopted a ‘have boots, will travel’ approach.
He had 18 permanent clubs over the 17 years between England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Holland and, primarily, the Republic of Ireland.
And that sense of adventure has not abandoned the now 44-year-old Scouser as he carves out a coaching career.
Rogers is poised to graduate from the 2020 batch of FAI Pro Licence participants alongside new Ireland coaches Damien Duff and Keith Andrews.
But since last year, his day-to-day focus has been taken up by FC Arizona, the American fourth tier club where he is both first-team coach and Technical Director.
While he has developed a natural sense of wanderlust over the years, he reckons aspiring coaches must be willing to travel in the pursuit of employment.
Having overseen coach education at Liverpool’s international academies around Europe he was promoted to their Academy boss in India.
Rogers, 44, then became assistant manager to the Indian national team before landing a club job in the country with DSK Shivajians.
That was an eye-opening experience before rejoining Liverpool as their academy boss in South Korea. The switch to America followed last summer.
Ex-League of Ireland players Shane McFaul and Lee-J Lynch, who both had brief spells with the club, and Eamon Zayed, who is in America, recommended him for the job.
Rogers told Mirror Sport: “I’ve always been a risk taker. Playing, it was ‘have boots, will travel’ but around 25, I had an ambition to go into management.
“Barry Fry was the craziest manager I ever played under but a gentleman. He told you straight but never held a grudge. He was a nutball, but an inspiring one.
“Jocky Scott at Dundee was the same. Old school, a permanent scowl but the demands he set were second to none.
“And Pat Fenlon at Shelbourne was a great mentor and I speak to him regularly. He’s always at the other end of the phone.
“I learned quickly that you have to turn off from being a player. It’s completely different, overseeing people who look to you for guidance.
“I’m a firm believer in taking yourself out of your comfort zone to learn new cultures and styles.
“The minute I went to Liverpool in 2013 as International Academy Manager, it opened my eyes as to what the world could offer.”
Life in Mesa, Arizona has been good to Rogers.
The sun splits the rocks for starters, so much so that training begins at 6.00am as it’s already soaring past 30 degrees by the time they finish two hours later.
He’s a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, a fraction more to Los Angeles with the sun-kissed strands of San Diego just beyond it again.
“Even though the world is changing and we’re going through tough times, you still appreciate what’s around you,” he said.
“I saw so much poverty in India, Nepal and Bangladesh that you need to step back sometimes, look in the mirror and say it’s not all bad.
“I saw things in India that you wouldn’t believe. It was the best education of my life but makes you realise how lucky we are.”
And unlike in India, his current club is run smoothly even though Rogers, his staff and squad were not immune to Covid pay cuts.
“It’s not nice but you realise that any business or club is bigger than any individual and you do what you can,” he said.
“Having that experience at Shels where we took pay cuts has stood me in good stead.
“And also in India where the whole team went six months without salaries. That was a test of your leadership skills.
“My experience of playing and managing in other countries has helped me cope with this situation a lot better.”
Rogers continued: “India was the most incredible experience of my life but the pay situation with the club was dreadful.
“I brought in Shane McFaul and signed players from Serbia, North Korea and Spain, but we were being lied to by the ownership.
“All I asked for was to be transparent and up front, but it galvanised us, just like it did at Shels.
“In Arizona, we couldn’t have a better owner in Jamie Landreman. I count my blessings that I’m at a club where the guy allows me to do what I believe I’m good at.
“Away from the first-team, I run the club day-to-day as Technical Director, I oversee the recruitment, the programmes, the budget, putting systems in place.
“We’ve big ambitions to grow but we want to do it the right way by developing our own players and not overspending on the budget.”
Nearing the end of his first year of a three-year deal, Rogers is counting down the days to when he can get going again.