The Malta Independent 20 January 2020, Monday

PhD awarded

Wednesday, 21 August 2019, 10:18 Last update: about 6 months ago

Research recently conducted by Maltese pedagogue and sports coach Renzo Kerr Cumbo for the award of a PhD from the School of Education at The University of Sheffield, was conferred in absentia, on 1 August.  The vice‑chancellor of The University of Sheffield has authorised the conferment of awards in absentia, as the official graduation will be held in January 2020. 

During the research for his PhD thesis entitled Coaching through principles of play. A conceptualisation of the coaches process of knowledge generation, Dr Kerr Cumbo explored the process of knowledge generation, soccer coaches apply when coaching through principles of play.


This process was first developed theoretically and then further populated through interviews with 10 international UEFA A and UEFA PRO soccer coaches. The theoretical development of the process was generated through Qualitative Content Analysis of two pedagogical theories and one soccer coaching methodology.

The first conceptualised process was then further developed with the intervention of the participating coaches who came from six different countries and who coached in six different countries across all the continents. 

This research is intended at providing a tool for soccer coaches, as pedagogues, to be able to continuously generate the necessary knowledge for them to impart to their athletes. It is believed, although not yet tested, that such a tool can be applied in different scenarios, as it takes a constructivist, ecological approach and looks at the environment as a main theme that influences the knowledge that needs to be generated by coaches for the desired pedagogical experience. 

Dr Kerr Cumbo said that Prof. Cathy Nuthbrown and Prof. Peter Clough from the University of Sheffield have been inspirational throughout his Doctoral journey. He added that their academic contribution and experience in the pedagogical and andragogical areas were pertinent for Dr Kerr Cumbo to keep focusing at coaching from a totally pedagogical perspective. 

Dr Kerr Cumbo is a sport senior lecturer at MCAST. He is a lecturer on the BSc in Sport Exercise and Health and on the Master in Vocational Education Applied Research 4.0. He is also a visiting lecturer and a member of the dissertations examination board at the University of Malta.

Dr Kerr Cumbo is presently developing the first sports research hub at MCAST. The hub has already obtained the interest of international partners, including the Southern University of Denmark.  

This PhD was funded by the Endeavour Scholarship Scheme. 

  • don't miss