Tom Curtis (born 1 March 1973 in Exeter, England) is an English professional footballer.
Curtis is currently Academy Manager at Bristol Rovers.
Curtis has previously played for several Football League clubs, and is perhaps best remembered for his seven-year spell at Chesterfield, where he played more than 250 games and was part of the Spireites’ memorable cup run of 1996–97, where they reached the semi-finals, with Curtis scoring the winner from the penalty spot in Chesterfield’s upset victory against Nottingham Forest. Curtis was signed by Chesterfield manager John Duncan at a time when the young footballer was undertaking a university course. Between the player and his manager, a situation was settled upon whereby Tom could continue his education whilst training with the Spireites part-time. His other clubs include Mansfield Town, Chester City (both in a Player/Coach role), Notts County and Portsmouth.
While playing at Mansfield Town, Chester City, Nuneaton Borough and Alfreton Town, he was given the captaincy. At Mansfield, Curtis helped them to the 2004 Third Division Play-off Final. In the semi finals, Curtis’ goal in the second leg against Northampton took the game to a penalty shootout, which Mansfield went on to win. The final against Huddersfield also went to penalties, however this time Mansfield lost and were thus denied promotion. Curtis’ only other goal for Mansfield came in the FA Cup against Bishop’s Stortford. Whilst at Chester, Curtis scored once in a 3–1 win over Barnet in October 2005. Curtis was appointed as the Head Coach of Loughborough University Football Team in 2007, leading the team to various trophies in his four years in the role.
In April 2008, he was appointed as the assistant coach to the English Universities squad for the 2008–09 season.
In March 2011, Curtis took up the role of Technical Director and Head Coach of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association. With the job, comes the task of managing Antigua’s sole professional team, Antigua Barracuda, in their first season in the United Soccer Leagues Professional Division (the third tier of United States Soccer).
• On 23 October 2012, he resigned from his position as Antigua and Barbuda national team coach and from Antigua Barracuda. In November 2012 Curtis returned to the UK to take up the role of Academy Manager at Bristol Rovers, his under 18 team remained unbeaten all season, winning both Youth Alliance League and Cup.
This item is from Jamaica Sport interview.
Coach wants Antigua and Barbuda to emulate Boyz
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Coach Tom Curtis speaks to the Jamaican media at his team’s hotel yesterday. (Photo: Ian Burnett
ST JOHN’S, Antigua — Although admitting his team’s advancement to the semi-final of the CONCACAF World Cup playoffs is already a “huge success”, Antigua and Barbuda’s young English coach Tom Curtis wants to make an even bigger impact on football in the region.
The 39-year-old former 15-year pro who paraded his skills at Derby Country, Portsmouth and Chesterfield has collaborated with the Antigua and Barbuda FA in trying to replicate the success of the Reggae Boyz on their 1998 France World Cup Finals journey.
Starting with their homegrown players, the FA created a team called the Antigua Barracudas, which play in the USL Pro League, the third tier of American football.
Players who used to work jobs in factories or on fishing boats while training for football in the evenings are now focusing full time on the sport, and with Curtis as coach of the Barracudas, also, they have become the only Caribbean team playing pro outside the region. The intention is clear — to develop the national team — and a lot has gone into it.
It is, therefore, no surprise the strides this tiny island of 107 square miles and 88,000 inhabitants has made to date.
Last year was a breakout year for Curtis’s team during the first phase of the qualifiers, winning four games in a row and scoring 26 goals.
The big test was against Haiti, and they overcame the French-speaking nation with a 1-0 victory at home, which placed them in Group A of the
semi-finals of the qualifiers alongside Jamaica, the USA and Guatemala.
In their first match against regional powerhouse USA in Tampa last Friday, Curtis’s side gave a spirited performance in losing 1-3. But the coach wants more and appears fearless when he spoke to the Jamaica Observer following a training session at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground yesterday.
“First and foremost, I think it’s a real success for a country like Antigua and Barbuda to get to the semi-final phase of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualification,” Curtis said.
“So we’re hugely successful already; this is what we have been working on for the last five years. The FA has been the visionary in terms of its approach to football in Antigua, creating a professional side so that our young players can train and play competitively,” he added.
He noted that it was great to play against the USA and his players acquitted themselves well.
“If you told anyone in Antigua two years ago that we would give the US, a world-class team, a real fright in the second half to really be on the backfoot when Peter Byers scored that goal, they would have said, ‘You must be crazy’, but that’s where we were,” he declared.
He said the players were disappointed with the result, but said that disappointment was testament to how far the team has progressed.
“It’s not a case of lying down; we’re going to be competitive against your guys (Jamaica) who have a big infrastructure and history in terms of World Cup football. You’re a bigger island and you have much more people to choose from, but we will be competitive 11 against 11 on Tuesday night and hopefully, we can give you a good game.”
Curtis’s team includes seven
British-born players, a couple of them recruited by Justin Cochrane, a 30-year-old midfielder who is British-born himself and hunts down players in English football who might qualify for Antigua and Barbuda.
Cochrane’s work has so far unearthed Reading midfielder Mikele Leigertwood, who helped his team back to the English Premiership next season.
“The backbone of our side is from the Antigua Barracudas, which is what I’ve been trying to do since I’ve been here for the last 14 months, but we have been able to improve the side by bringing in overseas players.
“We’ve brought in about seven overseas players who’ve not all been guaranteed starts, but we’ve got some quality characters and hopefully, they’ll add to what we’ve got on the island,” he offered.
One man who benefitted most from the move to professionalism has been 27-year-old Peter Byers who is the second highest scorer in the 2012 World Cup qualification with eight goals, including a 65th-minute strike against the USA.
Curtis expects a very tough game against Jamaica and though he admits to feeling the pressure to perform at home, he’s undaunted.
“It is important because it’s a big, big game for our island against one of the powerhouses of football in the Caribbean, and it’s a big game for everyone concerned. We want to be competitive and people are excited about playing against Jamaica and putting on a good show,” he said.
The Antiguan team is expected to be picked from Molvin James, Marvin McCoy, Marc Joseph, George Dublin, who is captain, Quinton Griffith, Randolph Burton, Mikele Leigertwood, Lawson Robinson, Keiran Murtagh, Peter Byers, Tamarley Thomas, Stefan Smith and Dexter Blackstock.
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