I’m an international football manager dreaming of reaching the World Cup – but I also work as a dentist

HEIMER HALLGRIMSSON is using his wisdom as Jamaica’s head coach – when he is not pulling out wisdom teeth in his other job as a dentist.

The Icelandic manager took over as the Reggae Boyz boss in September 2022.

GettyHeimir Hallgrimsson is the head coach of the Jamaica national football team[/caption]

Refer to CaptionHe is also a fully qualified dentist[/caption]

And he dreams of taking his adopted nation to the next World Cup – in the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026.

But if things do not work out for Hallgrimmsson in the Caribbean, he knows he can return home to his tiny Icelandic island of Heimaey and resume his dentistry full-time.

The former defender, who first cut his teeth in management at Hottur’s women’s team while playing for the men in 1993, opened his own clinic nearly 30 years ago – even combining his pro career on the pitch by seeing patients in the dentist chair.

He did put the fillings and treatments on the backburner when he co-managed Iceland at Euro 2016 and then took over singlehandedly for the nation’s first World Cup appearance in 2018.

Hallgrimmsson told SunSport ahead of the tournament in Russia: “I still have my clinic and I like to keep my fingers working.

“So I try to go there as much as I can in my spare time and do some dentistry.

“Some coaches go and play golf, I do dentistry.

“The reality of a football coach, you never know when you are out of a job so it’s good to have another profession to jump into.

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“The clients love it, and I love it too.

“They talk about football until I’m fed up… and then I give them anaesthesia!”

Hallgrimmsson even had to step into action while watching a game from the stands in 2016 – even having to repair a tooth.

He added: “I was watching a local women’s game when one of the players got knocked out and her tooth came out.

“So I jumped on the pitch and put the tooth back in, took her to a dental office and fixed it.

“That kind of thing can happen.”

It may seem like two totally different careers – football management and dentistry.

But Hallgrimmsson certainly sees some similarities, adding: “Working as a dentist has helped me a lot as you’re always working one-on-one.

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“Some people are really afraid of going to the dentist, so you have to find the right way to talk to each individual client.

“You might have to relax one, be funny to the next one, be serious to the third, but you have to be quick to adapt. It is the same with footballers.”

Jamaica have played at just one World Cup previously, winning one and losing two of their group games in France in 1998.

But under the tutelage of Hallgrimmsson, they could be in with a shot of making it in three years’ time.

Hallgrimmsson will be hoping to get experience in facing some of the big hitters in international football, including world champions Argentina, at the 2024 Copa America, which has six spots for CONCACAF nations.

Demarai Gray, Michail Antonio, Leon Bailey, Bobby Decordova-Reid and incoming Chelsea youngster Dujuan Richards help make up an exciting Jamaica squad.

He said: “I think we can do good things in the World Cup in 2026. We are just starting our journey.

“Now we have to try to find players, to select players who we want to have on the bus on this long journey to 2026, and this is like the beginning for us the coaches.

“I have to be patient and Jamaica has to be patient, but given the quality of the players I think we can be very, very good.

“To prepare for the World Cup, it would be huge to be able to play in the Copa America finals with the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and so forth.

“Our plan, our aim, our mission is to do well in the USA, Canada, and Mexico in 2026.”

GettyJamaica are aiming to qualify for the 2026 World Cup[/caption]

ReutersHallgrimsson led Iceland to their first World Cup in 2018[/caption]

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