MATT GREGG is an all-around good guy and he thinks kids should be too.
Gregg, 43, retired from the LOI in 2011.
From the saves he made, to the final UCD equalizer against Cobh Ramblers, he enjoyed his decade with Bray, Bohemians, UCD and Dundalk.
Now, he runs the DCU-based Just4Keepers training school, where he regularly encounters gang boss Keith Long.
“Keith was at Bray when I first moved to Ireland in 2001 and played in my first game,” said Gregg.
Gregg’s top level action these days is in cricket.
He revealed: “I am a member of the Phoenix Cricket Club and still play, although it is more social for me these days.
“George Dockrell, who played for Ireland in the win in the West Indies, has been here for a few years.
“Ben White, the guy on the team, he’s a spinner. I played with him for the first time when he was 13 or 14 years old.
“I watched Ireland’s games in the West Indies, it was a great win.”
Growing up in Cheltenham, Gregg played rugby union and cricket for Gloucestershire.
And he was supposed to go pro in cricket.
He chose football instead, joining Torquay while still in school and continuing to play in the Championship for Crystal Palace before moving to Ireland.
That is why he teaches children to be holistic people rather than experts.
“I played every sport – county rugby, cricket and football,” he said.
“Different things help with different sports, it’s hand-eye coordination.
“People these days talk about focusing on sports at a very early age but you pick things up your way.
GAA ONE HAND TO HELP RED
“I had players in my academy who were top goalkeepers when they were younger.
“But when they’re 12 or 13 it’s not. We coach all different levels, it’s about improving them and making sure they enjoy it.
“In Ireland, every kid plays Gaelic at some stage, they have a natural ability with their hands.
“That’s why Ireland should always produce goalkeepers, every kid catches the ball from an early age.”
Gregg credits the appearances of Gavin Bazunu, Caoimhín Kelleher and Mark Travers highlighting that.
“One of my weakest points is passing back,” he said. But now every goalkeeper must be able to play from behind.
“You can see that in Bazunu, Kelleher and Travers. They all have it.”
https://www.thesun.ie/sport/football/8228100/loi-keeper-matt-gregg-kids-playing-several-sports/ Former LOI goalkeeper Matt Gregg explains the benefits of playing certain sports with kids