Former LAW Guardian Matt Gregg Explains the Benefits for Kids Playing Multiple Sports

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MATT GREGG was an all-rounder and he believes kids should be the same.

Gregg, 43, retired from ACT in 2011.

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In a 2005 Bohs game against Drogheda United

From the saves he made to the last minute equalizer for UCD against Cobh Ramblers, he enjoyed his decade with Bray, Bohemians, UCD and Dundalk.

Now he runs the DCU-based Just4Keepers coaching schools, where he meets regularly with Gypsies boss Keith Long.

Gregg said: “Keith was at Bray when I first moved to Ireland in 2001 and played my first match.”

Gregg’s top action these days is in cricket.

He revealed: “I’m a member of the Phoenix Cricket Club and I still play, although it’s more social for me these days.

“George Dockrell, who played for Ireland in the West Indies victory, had been here for a few years.

“Ben White, who’s in the team, he’s a pain in the ass. I first played with him when he was 13 or 14.

“I watched Ireland’s games in the West Indies, it was a fantastic win.”

CRICKET POTENTIAL

Growing up in Cheltenham, Gregg played rugby and cricket for Gloucestershire.

And he was tipped to become a cricket pro.

Instead he opted for football, joining Torquay after school and went on to play in the Championship for Crystal Palace before moving to Ireland.

This is why he preaches for children to be all-rounders rather than specialists.

He said: “I played all sports – county rugby, cricket and football.

“Different things help with different sports, it’s all hand-eye-ball coordination.

“These days, we talk about focusing on the sport from an early age but we take ownership as we go.

GAA A HELP

“I had guys in my academy who were the best keepers when they were young.

“But by the time they were 12 or 13, they aren’t anymore. We coach at all levels, it’s about improving them and making sure they enjoy it.

“In Ireland every child plays Gaelic football at some point, they have a natural ability with their hands.

“That’s why Ireland should always produce goalkeepers, every kid catches a ball from an early age.”

Gregg believes the emergence of Gavin Bazunu, Caoimhín Kelleher and Mark Travers highlights this.

He said: “One of my weakest points was a back pass. But now every goalkeeper has to be able to play from behind.

“You can see it in Bazunu, Kelleher, and Travers. All of them have everything.”

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