Barry Beattie's playing and coaching careers have already taken a number of twists and turns. A major one occurred two years ago when he was offered an assistant position with the Staples girls soccer team while coaching a youth clinic in the area.
Twenty-four months later, Beattie is now the head coach and is looking to establish a winning culture in a town known for its soccer output.
Beattie, who played throughout his upbringing in Northern Ireland and began coaching there as a teenager at of one of the most prestigious academies in the country -- Maiden City Soccer Academy in Derry.
After college took him over to England, Beattie taught physical education at a youth correctional facility in London for a year. Unsure whether or not to continue with that job, he was offered a position in coaching across the pond.
"No (nerves) whatsoever," Beattie said of the life-altering move. "As soon as the guy offered it to me I jumped all over it. This is what I wanted to do anyway."
Beattie moved to the U.S. about four years ago to work for NOGA, a soccer coaching academy in Long Island that runs clinics year round.
With NOGA Beattie got experience in Fairfield County's youth system -- including coaching a variety of teams in New Canaan -- before being offered an assistant position under Heather Driscoll at Staples in 2012.
"I think my response was if I was offered a job at Staples you'd have to rip it out of my hand," Beattie recalled.
Driscoll stepped down due to family reasons last December and Beattie was offered the head coaching position by Staples Athletic Director Marty Lisevick. Beattie, who lives in Fairfield, believes spending two years as an assistant will be beneficial for him and his team going forward.
"In terms of being an assistant it was perfect," Beattie said. "There are different rules and regulations in the game in America, and it allowed me to develop a massive knowledge. Being an assistant allowed me to sit back, take a lot in and watch teams. For the girls it will be great to have that continuity."
The Wreckers spent part of their preseason being trained by the coaches at Fairfield University. Maggie Walsh, an incoming senior who has committed to play for the Stags, got a chance to interact with her future coaching staff.
"For (Walsh) it was great," Beattie said. "It's probably good to see how everything is done there and build that relationship. For the rest of the girls across the board; they're getting coached by a Division I program. We can't really ask for anything more than that."
Beattie will be assisted by Mackenzie Pretty. Pretty was a four-year starter at Fairfield and has spent the last several years coaching in the Westport youth system. Beattie hopes the two can return the Wreckers to perennial contention at the conference and state level.
"I don't see why not," Beattie said. "Westport has a massive (soccer) population and has great players coming through. For me a long term project. For now we want progression from last year; we just sneaked into states and this year the goal is to qualify for FCIACs and get past first round. From there it's about building a program and keeping kids."
Beattie's first game in charge will be Sept. 10 when Staples travels to Trinity Catholic.