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Club News

Changes to academy set-up

9 March 2017

Interviews with new appointments

Academy Manager Jeremy Sauer believes that new appointments to the coaching team will provide a greater opportunity to bring through more home-grown talents.

With the likes of Will Nightingale and Alfie Egan regularly part of first-team squads this season and the Under-18s having once again reached the last-16 of the FA Youth Cup, there has been plenty to be proud of in recent years for our academy.

However, a reshuffle of the academy coaching structure has become possible due to EFL and PL funding and Jeremy was keen to grab the chance to strengthen with both hands.

Jeremy announced the following appointments:

Academy Head of Football: Mark Robinson

Academy Head of Coaching: Michael Hamilton

Lead Youth Phase Coach (U-13 – U-16 and U-15/16) Head Coach: Rob Tuvey

Lead Youth Phase Coach (U-9-U-12) Head Coach: Joe Roberts

  .Dons PlayerClick on the link above to watch an interview on our official You Tube channel with Jeremy, Mark and Michael. The full 10-minute interview is on 

Explaining the news, Jeremy said that a key reason for the changes was that Under-18s manager Mark Robinson (previously Academy Head of Coaching) was having to fulfil two roles and the appointment of an extra person would really boost the quality of coaching.

“We are one of the first clubs to access this funding,” said Jeremy. “The EFL and the PL have put together a ‘Head of Coaching’ project with £15 million of funding. Essentially, funding for the Head of Coaching role is to improve the standard of coaching throughout the country. Mark Robinson previously had the role here, but he was also Lead Professional Phase Coach, which was Under-18s manager. The issue with that – as with a lot of clubs around the country – was that Mark was doing two jobs and it was not possible to do both of those to the best of his ability.

“We have a really talented team of coaches and everyone had always mucked in together, but now we are able to put a position in place where we have someone dedicated to the role, who does not coach any other team. He will not do anything else, apart from coach the other coaches. We advertised it in December, went through a recruitment process in January, and decided to appoint an internal candidate with Michael taking on the role. Michael has been looking after the Under-16s for many years and he came out on top in the process.

“It’s a big thing that we now have one more full-time member of staff. We’ve always said that if we had one more person dedicated to the coaching department we would be in a really strong position. The key thing in all these appointments is consistency. We’ve been doing it a long time and we’ve wanted to add something every season.

“The home-grown players who have been in the first-team this season have come through a previous system when we were still evolving and the whole academy set-up was getting better and better. Now we can do a little bit more with the boys we have got. Coaching the coaches is going to be a big thing, as we have said with Michael’s job. If we can get those coaches more fine-tuned within our DNA and how we want player development to be led, those little bits of detail that we sometimes missed with previous players are going to get picked up on. Our coaches are going to know even more about what our DNA is and what the overall profile of a Wimbledon player is. We are quite excited by it all and it is another thing that our players will be benefiting from.”

Michael Hamilton has worked in the Academy for over eight years, mostly with the U-15s/U-16s, and Jeremy said he knows the club’s culture inside out. Rob Tuvey has worked in the Academy for the past six seasons, developing the successful Foundation Phase (U-9s-U-12s) age groups, and will now step-up to Michael’s role to head up the Youth Phase (U-13s-U-16s). This is a key stage in preparing academy players for full-time football and progression to the U-18s.

A further knock-on effect was the need to fill Rob’s now vacant role, responsible for the academy’s youngest age groups. Jeremy said that Joe Roberts was the obvious choice. Joe, who had been looking after the academy’s U-11 age groups for the past three years, combined this with a full-time role in the AFC Wimbledon Foundation as Sports Development Manager.

  channel.You TubeAn interview with Joe Roberts and Rob Tuvey can also be viewed on our official 


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