James has over 20 years experience of playing and coaching hockey. His hockey career began in Larne from the age of 10 and continued in his 20s at Mossley where he still turns out when able.
Like most experienced players, injuries are settling in which makes it more difficulty for him to continue playing. However, he has turned his knowledge and passion for the game to coaching.
He comes to Ballymena with 4 years experience at Mossley Ladies and a year at Larne ladies. He has also been involved in the East Antrim under 14 development squad.
James will continue coaching Larne Ladies this year alongside Ballymena which means he won't be available for weekend matches but he feels with the two teams training on different nights and both playing in different leagues, it can only be of benefit to his coaching.
"Ballymena Ladies have always had a strong presence in hockey and so when asked would I be interested there was only one answer. I feel I can bring ideas from both of the teams that I am coaching," explains James.
Ballymena have had their new coach at preseason for a couple of weeks now and already the girls' enthusiasm for learning and trying new things has impressed him.
"It's an absolute pleasure to work with experienced girls and also very talented younger ones."
However, James appreciates that important players have been lost over the past 2 seasons so he is setting his ambitions for the firsts team at a realistic level.
"We hope to consolidate the firsts' league position, maybe climb a few places, but definitely finish in the top 4. Having lost key players, we are still trying to rebuild."
James is currently coaching all female players from all teams in their preseason training at the showgrounds on a Tuesday evening from 6.30 to 8 o'clock. The club encourages all players, beginners and existing, to get down and see what all the fuss is about!