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Stepping down five levels lets Kem follow his coaching dreams
Kem Izzet said he has joined Ryman League division one north side Needham Market as it allows him to pursue his own football coaching ambitions.
The former Colchester United midfielder, who left the League One club last week after making more than 450 appearances in a 12-year career with the U’s, isn’t worried that he has stepped down five levels of football to sign for Needham.
The 32-year-old was an unused substitute in their 0-0 draw at Witham Town on Tuesday night.
He has signed a two-year deal and will play for Mark Moresley’s team in the Ryman League, but said he is prepared to play at the lower level because of the coaching opportunities it allows him.
Izzet told the Gazette: “It went through on Tuesday afternoon so I was registered for the game at Witham.
“One of our coaches at Colchester, Steve Ball, had spoken to the Needham manager (Moresley) and said I might be interested in coming down to play on a week to week contract.
“But when I spoke to the manager, with what they offered and what it allowed me to do outside of playing football, I just thought I should look at the bigger picture rather than play full-time and then possibly be in this situation in ten months time.
“I left it for about a week and then decided that it’s the best offer for me at the moment.
“It allows me to pursue other avenues, which is my coaching academy now.
“Needham have an Academy and I can do one day a week down there, but I want to do bits and pieces myself.
“I want to go around and do freelance coaching where I can go round to clubs and schools and obviously be paid by them to do the coaching.
“On a Friday I have now set up a programme that should start by the end of the month where I’ll take eight to 12 year olds and do coaching with them in the evenings.
“They will come in and I’ll do an hour with eight to tens and then another hour with ten to 12-year-olds.
“I’m just trying to give something back that way.
“It’s my step into coaching.
“My brother does it in Leicester and he really enjoys it so it’s just about looking around to make a career outside of playing football.
“I have overheads I need to pay and you have to fill the gap.
“Not that I was on fantastic money but you go from playing to coaching and the gulf in what you can earn is massive.
“So you have to fill it in other ways and playing for Needham gives me a chance to get my business off the ground.
“I’m with Needham until 2015, so I’ve signed on for two years.
“I’ll be playing Saturdays and Tuesdays and training on Thursdays, but it gives me so much spare time during the week to let me do what I need for my coaching academy.
“I don’t care what anyone else thinks about me dropping down to this level of football.
“It’s what is best for me and my family.
“I’ll be 33 at the end of this month and while you want to play on and be as high up as possible for as long as you can, you also have to take into consideration that there isn’t that much money around in the professional game anyway.
“What I’m earning here (at Needham) won’t necessarily be that far off what I’d be earning at a professional level.
“Fair play to Needham because it was an offer I couldn’t turn down for my family and what we need to do in the future.
“If anyone raises eyebrows, that’s up to them, but I’m looking out for my family.
“It has only been a week since I left Colchester and I knew the longer I left it the more out of the window I would get and I’d start to lose opportunities.
“I’ve never been one sit around doing nothing and I just thought it was the right thing to do.”
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