Two long-serving members of staff and scholars at our academy have earned well deserved praise for their contributions.
Academy Administrator Sarah Skinner and Lead Foundation Phase Coach Joe Roberts (second from right in the picture above) are leaving AFC Wimbledon for new challenges. In addition, second year scholars Bobby Mills, Donte Lodge Francis, Reece Weekes, and Sami Naabad left at the end of the season.
Below are comments from Academy Manager Jeremy Sauer and Academy Head of Football Mark Robinson on their departures.
“Joe is a superb example of a driven, up and coming coach, who began simply by knocking on our door and volunteering with our pre-academy (Under-7s and Under-8s) six or seven years ago. He went onto work his way into roles with more responsibility and eventually a full-time role in the Academy. Joe has a bright future in front of him and he has left a real legacy here with our youngest Academy players. The U13s age-group was coached by Joe for four years and they will always be known as ‘Joe’s boys!’. Thanks Joe!
“Sarah has been with us for over seven years now and has been instrumental behind the scenes in all of the operations integral to making sure we meet the EFL rules, ensuring that we have a proper games programme, and our office runs efficiently. Without her dedication for so long, it would have been hard to have achieved so much. She is a true unsung hero of the Academy’s evolution and success and I’m sure she will be just as valuable in her new career as a midwife. Good luck and thank you Sarah!”
"Sarah has played a big role in the development of the academy behind the scenes for many years and she has been a great source of support to me. She will be missed by us all. Joe has been instrumental in our progression as an academy and created an excellent learning environment for our youngest players. His professional work will be missed, but his character and humour as a person is irreplaceable. Joe is going back home to Wales to continue his coaching career and we wish him every success.
"Second year scholars Bobby Mills, Donte Lodge Francis, Reece Weekes and Sami Naabad were not offered professional contracts at the end of the season. It's always the tough part of the job, particularly when the players buy into what you are doing and become part of our Wimbledon family. It is such fine margins when these decisions are made. The lads have been a credit to themselves and the club and have been a big part of the progression of the Under-18s, both on and off the pitch. All four have different types of talent and, as always, we will be there for them if needed and keep a close eye on their future development. We wish them all the very best for the future.
“Second year scholars Richie Mbele and Jamil Awoyejo have had their scholarships extended due to lengthy injuries so they will be working hard to earn extended contracts next season. Second year scholar Finlay Macnab has also had his scholarship extended after impressing first-team staff late on in the season, so he will be endeavouring to turn that extension into a professional contract.”
All at AFC Wimbledon wish Joe, Sarah, Bobby, Donte, Reece, and Sami well in their future careers.