Over the Pond: From the Bhoys to Boston
Greig Robertson was in with the bricks in the Academy at Scottish champions Celtic. Now he is laying the foundations for a bright future at a top American youth club.
Football Careers client Greig is Director of Coaching at Boston Bolts and is at the end of Year One of his American adventure. Bolts have over 2,000 players, with their top MLS Next Academy sides playing against the likes of New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC.
In Episode Two of our Over The Pond blog series, UEFA Pro Licence coach Greig talks Celtic, Brendan Rodgers, fighting against the win-at-all-costs attitude in youth football, and his peaks and troughs adjusting to a new life in America.
By Greig Robertson
For 18 years I lived and breathed coaching at Celtic.
I was working for my boyhood heroes, brushing shoulders with those I once watched from the stands, living a dream in many ways. It was a privilege.
Yet towards the end of my time back home in Scotland, I was plagued by this picture that was living in my head. I had this image of me being this old guy walking up the hill from the local Spar with my pint of milk when I was finished coaching, and I’d never experienced living in a different country.
I said to my wife I didn’t want to live with that regret. Yes, I was in with the bricks at Celtic: I’d been there for almost two decades. But during the COVID-19 lockdown, I started to think deeply about my future.
I dearly love Celtic, they are the club I support and it was an honour to work there. Yet the prospect of being there for all of my working days began to fill me with fear.
I’d known the hierarchy at Boston Bolts from the partnership we’d had when I was in an international development role at Celtic and we had a great relationship. They had spoken to me before about possibly moving out to the States but I felt that I was still climbing the ladder at Celtic.
Latterly, though, I was Head Coach of the Under-18s and I couldn’t really see what my next progression was.
At first, I didn’t think it was achievable to move out here: you need luck and connections. Then I took a deep breath and made the great leap forward — but I will always owe a huge debt of gratitude to those I learned from at Celtic.
I draw on those lessons every day. Take Brendan Rodgers — I loved spending time around Brendan and his staff, people like his assistants Chris Davies and John Kennedy.