The curious case of Jonathan Glenn – A lesson in talent development

As head coach of IBV in the men´s top league in Iceland this season I decided to sign a striker from Trinidad and Tobago in February this year. His name was Jonathan Glenn, he was 26 years old and had been playing in the lower leagues (PDL and NPSL who are considered 4th tier ) in USA and before that he played for a Division II college in Florida called St. Leo University.

Originally I saw a video of Jonathan that impressed me and invited him in for trial. He played in 2 matches for us and was a bit out of shape. What impressed me about him was that he was very strong physically, very fast and excellent with his back to goal. He had confidence and a good attitude. He could also take players on. So I signed him. I could help him work on his fitness, that is the easy part to fix. He also needed to simplify his game, work on intelligent runs when he did not have the ball and to become a better finisher.

The paperwork took about 2 months to clear so when Jonathan finally arrived in Iceland he was really out of shape but had willingness to work hard and did extra after training. 3 weeks before the season started he pulled his hamstring so we could not push him hard in training. Jonathan started in our first match of the season. Jonathan struggled.

Jonathan had played in several pre-season matches without scoring and in fact he only scored 1 goal in his first 12 matches for IBV. During that spell pretty much everyone came to me and told me to send the player home. Jonathan was slaughtered by the TV pundits, the fans, even by some of the players and members of the board. I was under pressure because our team was not doing well.

But I kept on playing him because I believed in him.

Jonathan scored 15 goals in his next 20 matches for IBV. He scored 43% of all goals IBV scored in the league this season and came 2nd leading goal scorer in the league. He got player of the year for IBV, became leading goalscorer at IBV and was selected into the Team of the year in the top league after the season. Jonathan also scored Best goal of the year in the Pepsi league.

Today Jonathan Glenn was selected into the A-national team of Trinidad and Tobago for the first time. What´s next?

There is a lesson here in talent identification and also in talent development. I am sure you can figure them out and comment below.

Here is the original video I received of Jonathan. Have a look and see if you can spot a player who in 9 months became an A-national team player for his country and became one of the best players in the top league in Iceland within months. Would you have signed him and why?

Here is then another video of Jonathan so you can see how he did in our league.

I will leave you here with the icing on the cake, the goal of the year in the Pepsi league, one of the best ones I have seen.

It is likely that you will see Jonathan playing in the MLS this season or in one of the top leagues in Scandinavia. If you like this post, please share it.

Siggi Eyjolfsson

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