Johnny McKinstry, Academy Manager, coaching elite young players

Coach McKinstry has extensive experience in elite player development, at both full international level and in elite academies. 

Talent identification and development is central to Coach McKinstry's approach.  He seeks to work at all levels of the game to build long-term development.  


At international level, he not only works directly with players, but has also developed a network of scouts and contacts to assist him to identify and secure the very best talent.  

As part of his work with elite academies he has scouted and nurtured young talent that has gone on to play at youth and full international level.  He has also established national networks of league coaches and scouts, and ensured their ongoing professional development.


International Manager and Head Coach, Rwanda


As part of his role as Head Coach, Coach McKinstry had responsibility for the technical development of the senior male national football team (the 'Amavubi') and the national u23 and u20 mens squads.

Along with FERWAFA, he played a key role in the development and delivery a framework for coach and player development, nurturing talent and delivering skills development clinics and training sessions.

He also provided techncial advice on a range of matters, including wider football development and coach education.




International Manager and Head Coach, Sierra Leone

SierraLeone Coat of arms

During his time as Head Coach of the Sierra Leone National Men's Football team Coach McKinstry focussed considerable effort on team development and talent identification.  

Alongside working on coach and player development, he gave out 14 international debuts in just 18 months, bringing the average squad age down from 29 to 22.  


The impacts of his efforts were clear - within just 16 months (August 2014) Coach McKinstry had led Sierra Lone to their highest ever FIFA World and African rankings - 7th in Africa and 50th in the World - both well above their lowest ever ranking of 172 in 2007, an achievement hailed by as "remarkable"




Craig Bellamy Foundation

cbflogoCoach McKinstry was Academy Manager of the Craig Bellamy Foundation (CBF) where he had overall responsibility for the operation of both a full-time elite football academy, and youth development leagues operated nationwide by the organisation.

The CBF Academy sought to develop talented young athletes and work with them to produce football players who were well-rounded, inspirational role models.

The CBF League, involved over 3,000 boys and girls across the country, aiming to use football to bring about positive change, focusing on increasing school attendance, football development and respect for fair play.

Appointed in January 2010, in just 5 short years Coach McKinstry oversaw the development of the Academy into the leading sporting facility in Sierra Leone - developing and placing elite young players in Europe, Asia and North America.  


During that time he managed the academy, developing the first generation of talent to:

  • See players secure u-20 Sierra Leone international caps (despite only being aged 16 and 17);
  • Secure academic / sports scholarships for CBF boys to attend college in the USA / UK (value of $1.3million);  
  • Develop talent for subsequent professional contracts and training placements in Asia.
  • Arrange international training placements with some of Europe’s leading clubs (Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester City);
  • Organise a national recruitment programme in 2013 to assess in excess of 7000 10-12 year olds to select future scholarship recipients;
  • Establish a national network of scouts / coaches and ensure the continuous professional development of over 100 coaches per annum across the country.



'Right to Dream' Football Academy, Ghana

MUFC PremierCup Africa2010

Coach McKinstry was as Interim Head Coach of the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana in 2010, having spent some time with them previously in 2006.


In 2010, his team were crowned 2010 Nike Premier Cup African Champions and progressed to the Nike / Manchester United World Finals where they achieved an impressive 7th place finish with victories against clubs such as Newcastle United and Werder Bremen.


During his two spells with the internationally acclaimed Ghanian Academy, Coach McKinstry coached several players who have gone on to represent Ghana at both youth and senior international level including major tournaments such as the African Cup of Nations, and 2014 FIFA World Cup.



Red Bull Academy, New York, USA

Coach McKinstry worked as Pre-Academy Coach at Red Bull New York between 2007 and 2009.

During this period he was responsible for identifying and developing young talent for entry into the Red Bull Academy, the first free-to-play football academy in the USA. Many of these still young players have already gone on to represent the USA at international level in various age categories.


Wider Experience & Industry Recognition

Alongside the above, Coach McKinstry has a range of experience coaching teams in the UK, USA and in Africa.  

He has been named as 'UK Grassroots Coach of the Year' by Manchester United FC for his work within the football industry and has been recognised nationally in the field of 'Outstanding Team Motivation' for his role in developing and preparing athletes for competition.  

As part of his philosophy of continuous development, he ensures that he regularly spends time observing and sharing best practice with other top teams and coaches.  

In the past year he has been hosted by, and spent time with various clubs including: Swansea City F.C. (English Premier); the Scottish Football Association; Hibernians F.C. (Scottish Championship); Everton F.C. (English Premier);   ATM F.A. (Malaysian Premier); Phnom Penh Crown F.C. (Cambodian Premier); Army United F.C. (Thai Premier); QUeen's Park Rangers (English Premier).



Career Summary (CV) 

Download Coach McKinstry's Career Summary (CV) in pdf format

JMcK CareerProfile 2017 800




  Coach McKinstry with John Trye, Goalkeeper, Leone Stars [Photo (c) Darren McKinstry]


Gallery - Elite Player Development

{sfx url=''}


Download Pictures (for Media Use)


Interview Requests

Please contact  with any requests.  

Photo Gallery  / Download 

See for a selection of images for use in social media or online news (terms apply).  Images without watermarks, or for wider use can be obtained via

More News

Visit  You can also follow @johnnymckinstry , or @XtraTimeSports on twitter.

Read More

You can read more about Coach McKinstry's:

About Coach McKinstry

Coach McKinstry is a UEFA Pro Licensed Football Coach.  As Head Coach of the Uganda National Team, the 'Uganda Cranes' (2019 - 2021) he delivered a WIN from 2 in every 3 games and went undefeated in over 8 in every 10 games played.  This represented the highest 'win' and 'undefeated' rate achieved by a Uganda National Team Coach in over 15 years.  In his first 3 months in charge, he had led Uganda to win CECAFA 2019; had put Uganda top of their AFCON qualification group; and secured 9 wins and 1 draw from his first 10 games.  In winning CECAFA 2019, Uganda did so by winning all six of their matches, only the second time in Uganda's history that they had done so by winning every game they played in the tournament.  In AFCON qualifiers, under his management Uganda were the only team of all 48 nations competing to have conceded zero goals from open play.

He was International Manager and Head Coach of the Rwanda National Football Team (2015-16). Within just 17 months he led Rwanda to a number of highs - including their first ever appearance in the knockout stages of a major international tournament (Quarter-finals of CHAN, Jan 2016) and finished runner-up in CECAFA (Dec 2105), being named 'Coach of the Tournament' for his efforts. 

He was Head Coach of the Sierra Leone National Men's Football team (2013-14). Within just over a year, he had led Sierra Leone to their highest ever FIFA World and African rankings - 7th in Africa and 50th in the World (August 2014).  He was Head Coach of Saif Sporting Club, Bangladesh Premier League (2018-19); and FK Kauno Zalgiris, Lithuanian A-Lyga (2017-18).  He is a European (UEFA), American (NSCAA) and university qualified football coach. 

Coach McKinstry is a member of 'Common Goal'. Together members seek to support high-impact organisations that harness the power of football to advance the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Quotes: What the media say

  • Johnny McKinstry is one of the most intelligent, level-headed and knowledgeable managers in the game today. Few can match his achievements by the age of 30, and fewer still the success he has enjoyed in the game.

    Read More
    These Football Times
  • If one day, McKinstry reaches the very pinnacle of the game, few could begrudge him his day in the sun... no one could say he hasn’t earned it.

    Read More
    Daily Mirror
  • It stands testament to his adaptability, hunger and talent ... that McKinstry has tamed the toughest challenges and risen to become one of the best young managers in football today.

    Read More
    These Football Times
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5