Sebastián Galles might not have made stardom as a defender, but he has just been signed by the Universidad de Chile’s club.
His family had never been into football, but Sebastian always knew that he wanted to dedicate his life to his favourite sport. A vocation that he has had since as early as he can remember, would bring him across the Atlantic, over to Europe, where he would later make a place for himself in the world of football. First as a player, then as a coach. An experience he would take back home with him to South America, as a technician for one of the largest football institutions in the region.
Sebastián Galles is from the province of San Luis, in the centre of Argentina. His passion for football and the possibility of entering the youth categories of Club Atlético Newell’s Old Boys soon led him to Rosario, where he stayed for a year before making his way over to Spain. He ended up at Marcet thanks to a scholarship and in a matter of months, he caught the attention of several international teams.
“In Barcelona, we played several matches against teams from other countries that would come mostly for the preseason,” recalls the Argentine defender. “One of them was FC Baulmes, they gave me the opportunity to play in the Swiss Second Division for a season and a half. It was a great experience that mostly helped me mature as a person. In Switzerland, I understood that football doesn’t confine itself to the limits of the football pitch you play on. There’s a lot to learn about what happens in football off the pitch”.
“THERE COMES A MOMENT WHEN YOU REALISE THAT YOU HAVEN’T MADE IT FAR ENOUGH TO LIVE OFF FOOTBALL AS A PLAYER, BUT YOU CAN AS A TRAINER”
When he returned to Barcelona, Sebastián continued to compete in First Catalana but also began to accumulate experience as a coach. “I came to Spain as a player, but from the get-go, I was interested in working in the educational side of football. I was soon given the opportunity to help take on a team of Cadets (under-16s) and during my stay at Marcet, I was able to get the necessary qualifications to work as a coach.”
“There comes a time when you realise that you haven’t made it far enough to live off football as a player, but you can as a coach. After all, this sport isn’t just the 11 people who go out onto a football pitch to represent their country. Behind the scenes, there are a lot of people involved: scouts, analysts, physical trainers, sports psychologists… I soon came to realise that my future could be as a coach.”
With time Sebastian became one of the permanent technicians at Marcet, for both the intensive courses and the High-Performance Academy, until he received an irrefusable offer from the other side of the world. The Universidad de Chile’s Club, a historical team in South America’s first division league, wanted Sebastian on its technical staff.
“I had to take the opportunity,” explains the Argentine defender. “They came forward with a good proposal and I just went for it. It’s been a little complicated on the family side of things because I’ve only just had a child but, the way I see it, rejecting this offer would have potentially made things more complicated. When you don’t make it as a player you still need to feed the ambition of reaching the top, even if it is in a different way”.
Sebastian sees this experience as a “welcome challenge”. “The secret,” says the Argentine coach, “is to be true to yourself. At the end of the day I’ll treat any players I have to work with the same way that I’ve treated the players who have been with me at Marcet all these years. I’ll see football from another point of view, in a different context. But I will remain the same person. I’ll always try to grow and look to developing the players that i‘m responsible for so that they can make progress and be at the highest level they can. Of course, without ever forgetting that I myself, also have a lot to learn.”