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Our Experts

The Sir Stanley Matthews Foundation strives to provide the best coaching and training possible.  We work with a variety of experts from the world of sport and further afield to ensure that our team of coaches can deliver top quality sports sessions and that they can also successfully deliver material reinforcing our values.    

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Sophie Bennett - Ownership and Responsibility

Sophie Bennett is an author, motivation, businesswoman and peak performance expert. She has helped champions to win medals, leaders to transform business performance, and individuals to perform beyond their wildest expectations. Her inner city upbringing and non-sporting parents was not a conventional start for a successful career in equestrian sport, but her passion for horses coupled with an unshakeable belief that you can achieve anything if you are willing to work hard led a national scholarship for potential olympians and she went on to become a professional dressage rider. She is still winning major competitions 20 years later. Sophie has witnessed first hand the remarkable opportunities, impact and life lessons that sport gives to young people. Following sporting retirement at 30, Sophie build a successful career in IT and management and is a visiting lecturer at the Cranfield School of Management. 


She is the author of “Find Your Flame - Why Motivation Matters More Than Talent” for which she interviewed 50 world class performers from business, science and sport. Her findings about what it takes to be successful in any field of life forms the basis of all the work she does for organisations as a speaker, consultant and mentor. 

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Dr. Ed Cope

Ed graduated with a BSc degree in Sport Coaching (2009) and an MSc in Sports Coaching Science (2011) from Leeds Beckett University and the University of Worcester respectively. In 2014, he completed his PhD entitled “The Pedagogical Practices of Children’s’ Sports Coaches and their formation” at the University of Bedfordshire, which was supervised by Professor Stephen Harvey and Professor David Kirk. Ed has had lecturing positions in Sports Coaching at Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Hull. Most recently Ed worked at the English Football Association, where he was responsible for the design and development of their education courses. Ed took up the role as Lecturer in Sports Coaching at the Loughborough University in 2019.  

Ed’s main research interest is centred on understanding the coaching practices and behaviours of sports coaches and the impact these have on athlete learning and development. As well as this, Ed researches on the role of the coach developer and how they best support coaches’ development. Ed’s other significant research area explores how coach education needs to be developed and delivered to support coaches’ learning. 

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Professor Samantha Davis - Health and Nutrition

Samantha Davis is an Associate Professor of Professional Practice in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. She attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison on a full tennis scholarship and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics. She holds a Master’s degree in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University.  She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist with over 25 years of experience in the field including clinical nutrition, private practice, sports nutrition, and dietetics education.


Nick Levett - Innovation and Creativity

Currently Head of Coaching at U.K. Coaching, Nick Levett needs no introduction to anyone involved in youth coaching in the U.K. over the last 15 years.  Formerly Head of Youth Development and Talent Identification Manager at the Football Association, Nick has long been at the fore-front of developing young footballers across England.  Nick is a UEFA 'A' licensed coach,  an FA Youth Award Level 4 Coach and has also completed a Masters Degree in Education and Creativity.

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Johnathan McKinstry - Teamwork

Johnathan is the current Head Coach of the Ugandan national football team, having previously managed Sierra Leone and Rwanda.  Originally from Northern Ireland, Johnathan's early career was focused on elite youth development and saw him hold roles at Newcastle United, the New York Red Bulls, the Right to Dream Academy and with the Craig Bellamy Foundation.

In 2013 he guided Sierra Leone to their highest ever FIFA ranking and in 2016 took Rwanda to the quarter finals of the African Cup of Nations.  He was appointed Head Coach of Uganda in 2019 and in the same year guided them to victory in the CECAFA Cup.

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Major General (Retired) Paul Nanson, CB CBE - Leadership

Our expert in leadership, Major General Paul Nanson, CB CBE is a British Army officer who served as Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was also General Officer Commanding Recruiting and Initial Training Command.  He was commissioned into the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in January 1986 and became commanding officer of the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in 2006.  He went on to be chief of staff for 1st (United Kingdom) Armoured Division in Germany in 2008 before being appointed commander of the 7th Armoured Brigade in 2011 and Director (Army) at the Joint Services Command and Staff College in 2014. He was appointed Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in September 2015.  His career saw him deployed to Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan and in 2015 he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for distinguished services in Afghanistan. In 2020 he was awarded the Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).

He is the author of the book 'Stand Up Straight: 10 Life Lessons from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst'.'  He retired from the Army in 2020 after 34 years service he now works as a Consultant, Coach, Advisor and Speaker.

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Dr Carole Pemberton - Resilience

Dr Carole Pemberton has over 30 years’ experience of helping individuals to have more successful and satisfying working lives. Her work has encompassed sectors as diverse as global humanitarian charities, FTSE 100 companies, Universities, the NHS and Government Departments. She has a particular interest in resilience and its importance in dealing with and recovering from setback, so that it is an opportunity for personal growth.


She is an executive coach, coach supervisor, coach educator, researcher, author and speaker.  She is Visiting Professor in Business Coaching at the University of Ulster, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, the Institute of Personnel and Development and the Career Development Institute.  Her doctorate was awarded for research into working with the resilience issues of leaders. 

She has authored and co-authored a number of books including ‘Coaching to Solutions’ which sells worldwide as a means of supporting line manager coaching, ‘Her most recent book is ‘Resilience: A Practical Guide for Coaches’.


Details of her work can be seen at:

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