We are delighted to announce that Jon Meades is officially back at AFC Wimbledon after he accepted a coaching role with our academy.
The 26-year-old, who retired due to injury just before 2018/19 got underway, has been appointed Academy Development Coach, working across several age groups to pass on his knowledge to the club's next generation.
Of course, Jon was a part of the AFC Wimbledon promotion squad in 2016, three years after helping the Dons to stay in the Football League, and Academy Manager Jeremy Sauer believes his experience will be invaluable.
"Already Meadesy is having an impact on some of the players," said Jeremy earlier today. "I have just stood there and watched him talk to one of our Under-18 strikers and it was spot-on. We've said quite strongly that it has to be a job. The big thing we've been impressed with is that Meadesy really wants to learn and throw himself into it, so we are quite enthused by that. He came here in the middle of August and started a couple of weeks on trial, just to see if it worked for him, and whether he could commit to it. Now we've offered him a formal role. In the next month he is going to spend it working across different age groups: getting some contact time, seeing where his strengths lie, and what he enjoys the most."
Speaking on his first day in the new role, Jon said: "With the disappointing news about my retirement, I was thinking about going into coaching. I've always enjoyed it and admired the academy here for a while. As soon as the news came out (about me retiring) I spoke to Jeremy and it has all happened quite quickly.
"When you are a player in the youth team you do the level two coaching, which is quite basic. My next progression is to do my UEFA B and I'm looking at avenues to do that, hopefully that will be in the pipeline very soon. It's just about getting experience working with people here, they are all really good coaches, so I am trying to learn and feed off them as much as possible. It's just the start of the journey for me."
Click on the link below for a short interview with Jon and Jeremy at the training ground. Rob Cornell's full interview will be on our website and social media channels tomorrow.