My name is Thomas Pratl, and I am a 25-year old, ambitious Austrian football coach. I am writing to you because I want to apply for the master programme in High Performance Football Coaching at FMH. First, please let me introduce myself.
As you can see on my CV, I have started coaching when I was 15 years old. Back then I was still playing football myself at the highest Austrian (academy) level. Due to various setbacks, a lack of perspective but predominantly because of my susceptibility to injuries, that originated from a severe scoliosis that was diagnosed when I was 8 years old, I stopped pursuing a career as a professional football player when I graduated from school with 19 years.
I decided to become a professional football coach instead. I have tried to learn as much as possible since then. Today, I am proud to say that I am the youngest Austrian football coach to hold both the UEFA A Licence, as well as the UEFA Elite Youth Licence. Moreover, I do think that the combination of technical-tactical (UEFA A Licence, UEFA Elite Youth Licence), as well as psychological (MSc in Applied Sport Psychology) and physiological (BSc in Coaching and Sports) aspects of my education has already given me a valuable and differentiated insight into the various aspects of football.
Adding to my theoretical education, I have also gained a lot of practical experience. Today, I can say that I have got about ten years of coaching experience and that I have worked with kids as young as 3 years up until 38 years old former professional football players. I have already trained and coached elite, sub-elite, as well as female and physically disabled football players. Overall, I estimate that I have closely worked with more than 400 people for at least 6 months in duration. At the moment, I am head coach of the (semi-professional) first team of SC Pinkafeld, a team that plays in Austria’s fourth division.
Now, let me point out, why I really want to study this master programme in High Performance Football Coaching. My ultimate goal is to become a professional football coach at the highest level. This is why I have also applied to the UEFA Pro Licence here in Austria a couple of weeks ago. This goal is also the reason why I flew to Doha (Qatar) two weeks ago. There I could stay with Zenit Football Club, its head-coach André Villas-Boas and the whole coaching staff for one week and get a close and deep insight in how they work.
In Doha, I also got to know António Dias (former fitness coach at FC Porto, Valencia CF), who in one of our conversations informed my about this master programme. Till then, I was simply not aware of the possibility of studying High Performance Football Coaching anywhere in Europe. This is the only (!) reason, why I have applied this late. Still in Doha, I have already informed myself about the course programme, the various lecturers etc. After gathering all information about this master, I am totally convinced that the quality of football-related education is outstanding. I think the list of great coaches that have studied at FMH speaks for itself.
Further, the possibility of getting to know José Mourinho, one of the greatest coaches/managers of all time and a big role model of mine, is absolutely incredible. Thus, I am sure, that this master programme could be a big step forward in my pursuit of becoming a professional football coach at an elite level.
All I want to do is learn! This is why I am constantly looking for ways to improve myself and my football-specific knowledge. Taking part in this master programme will help me to become the best coach I can be. I am convinced that I will not disappoint you! It would mean a lot to me, if you could give me this unique opportunity and grant me permission to study this master at FMH. Thank you very much for your time.