Charlotte FC’s Goalkeeper Coach discusses the goalkeeper’s role in Miguel Ángel Ramírez’s system and his experience in developing world-class shot stoppers

CHARLOTTE—Ahead of the 2022 inaugural season, Coach Miguel Ángel Ramírez has added another assistant with a wealth of experience to his backroom staff: Goalkeeping Coach Andy Quy.

Following a professional goalkeeping career that began in the Tottenham Hotspur youth system, Quy has coached at the top level in English soccer for over 15 years. He was a part of Thomas Frank’s staff as Brentford pushed for Premier League promotion in 2019-20, and spent a decade coaching and developing the keepers at Stoke, during their tenure in the English top flight.

“The goalkeeper is a massively important part of the team,” says Quy, who spoke shortly after returning from a scouting trip to find candidates for the club’s three goalkeeper roster spots.

“Every good team has a good goalkeeper, and we're looking to find the strongest possible candidates. Our goalkeepers will fit with Coach Miguel's style of play, he will build our attacks, and be a calming influence at the back.

“It’s also really important that our goalkeepers have really strong leadership qualities. They may not wear the captain’s armband, but a good goalkeeper is certainly a leader in the team.

“We’ll fill our goalkeeper roster spots with a diverse range of technical and tactical abilities. It's got to be a competitive environment, and, in my opinion, we need to bring people in, and are going to push each other. Right now, we’re doing due diligence, and looking everywhere to find the best fit.”

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Quy—who will work alongside highly experienced first team coaches Christian Lattanzio and Mikel Antia—is savoring the prospect of building upon his established reputation for success in Europe with a new chapter in Major League Soccer.

“I am enjoying the challenge of a new project, and being a part of it from the beginning,” says Quy. “It’s great to be a part of the recruitment process from inception, to help to build the squad, and to build the culture within the club. I’m looking forward to help create something the fans can really be proud of.

“And I’m really impressed with what the club has done in terms of bringing in experience and talent. There’s an exciting young manager, highly experienced assistants, a superb worldwide scouting network and a wealth of experience in youth development. It’s a really exciting time!”

The goalkeeper is a key component in Miguel Ángel Ramírez’s playing style, where a high-pressing, possession-based system is built upon the ball being played out from the back.

“In terms of style, Miguel’s system shares some similarities with that of Thomas Frank at Brentford,” says Quy. “As a goalkeeping coach, part of the job is to be able to work with managers that have different styles and to be adaptable, but still be strong in terms of your own thoughts and philosophies. Based on the conversations I’ve had with Miguel, about playing style and philosophy, I’m really excited about this team.”

Quy is a UEFA A-Licensed coach, who is also fully qualified to coach outfield players. His goalkeeping specialism, however, brings with it some unique responsibilities. 

“The role of the goalkeeping coach has grown, certainly over the last 10 years,” says Quy. “Firstly, they will help with recruitment, to ensure a prospective player fits with the manager’s style of play. Then, the job is about preparing the goalkeepers on a daily and weekly basis to perform at the top level—while developing them over the length of their contract.

“Goalkeeping coaches work closely with the manager and will work with the rest of the team in certain areas. Often, for example, we will work on preparing set pieces with all the players, from a defensive and attacking perspective.”

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Throughout his career, Quy has developed and coached goalkeepers who have succeeded at Premier League and international level. The likes of Asmir Begovic, Jack Butland, Thomas Sorensen and Shay Given have all benefited from his expertise. He relishes the prospect of developing world-class players in Charlotte. 

“The U.S. has produced some high-quality goalkeeping talent over the years—you only need to look at all the Premier League exports—and there’s some really good keepers in the league at the moment,” says Quy. “The standard in MLS is constantly improving. I’m really excited to work with the goalkeepers we are going to have.”

In his most recent role as Head of Goalkeeping with English League One Burton Albion, Quy oversaw the development of goalkeepers from academy level through to the first team. Similarly, he will oversee development in Charlotte FC’s flourishing Academy program.

“I’ve had some great conversations already with [Academy Goalkeeping Coach] Brian Edwards,” says Quy. “We’ve talked about the development process and what the Academy needs going forward.

“The focus at the start will be on the players we bring into the first team, but it is vitally important to develop our Academy talents and give them the right pathway to professional soccer. I’m hopeful that we can one day bring a goalkeeper through the Academy ranks to the first team.”

The ‘blank slate’ of an inaugural roster and the opportunity to develop talent at a fledgling and ambitious organization have brought Quy from his home in the East Midlands of England to North Carolina with an understandable air of excitement. That excitement will crescendo at the home opener at Bank of America Stadium.   

“The most exciting thing for me is going to be walking out at that first game in the stadium,” says Quy. “And that's the thing I think everybody at the club is looking forward to the most. 

“It’s going to be great as our fans build an atmosphere and culture inside the stadium, making it a really difficult place for opposition teams to visit. But walking out that first time is going to be absolutely amazing. And I'm really, really looking forward to it.”