Seb Brown has thanked our academy coaches for helping to launch his coaching career after he decided to accept a new challenge elsewhere.
The man who played such a pivotal part in AFC Wimbledon’s rise by saving two penalties in the 2011 play-off final has been passing on his knowledge to our young keepers as Lead Youth Phase Goalkeeper Coach at our Academy. Seb said that an opportunity to take his coaching career forward with Chelsea FC Women was too good to turn down, but he’s already planning future visits to our new stadium, starting with a 10-year reunion for members of the 2011 play-off winning squad at Plough Lane!
Speaking in an extensive interview for our official website, Seb, who was brought up as a Wimbledon supporter, said: “I am moving on from my role with the academy here, which is a bit disappointing, but I’ve been presented with a new opportunity elsewhere. At the moment with the current situation, it was just too good for me to turn down. It is with a heavy heart that I’m doing so because everyone knows what this club has done for me, and what it means to me. That extends from my playing days here to the responsibility I feel working with the younger keepers and giving them the opportunities to try to get to the same level that I reached. It will be a sadness not to continue working with the young keepers here. A lot of them have been at the club longer than I have in my coaching capacity. I’ve seen them come through from Under-10s to a time now when they are really pushing for scholarships.
“The fact that I got the opportunity to work within an EPPP academy as early as I have in my coaching career is thanks to Michael (Hamilton, Academy Manager), Jeremy (Sauer) before him, and Jordan (Knight). They took a bit of a chance on me, allowing me to learn on the job, and I got my coaching qualifications up to date while I was working here. That’s difficult to do elsewhere, so I’m grateful to them for that. There are probably too many people to mention, but getting to learn from Bayzo and Jordan, people who have been coaching a lot longer than I have, was good for me, and provided a chance to grow as I went along. The plan was that it was going to culminate in heading up things this year in terms of the Youth Phase side.
“We had some good meetings during lockdown to discuss how we thought it could grow. My aim in the next three weeks is to make sure that’s all carried through, so that when I’m not here Michael has got a schedule, including what we’ve been doing so far, and how we think that can be even better. With the supporters, you see how much interest they take in the academy with the gates for the FA Youth Cup games. Fan travelling up with the boys to Sheffield United just shows how much the academy means to the supporters here.”
Academy Manager Michael Hamilton said: “I think the word ‘legend’ is loosely used sometimes, but I think in Seb's case it is most appropriate. He’s a very humble, hardworking person, so humble that in fact some people don’t recognise who he is. We were doing pre-season training a few weeks ago with the under 18s and I said to some of them, ‘do you know who Seb Brown is?’ I got them to look him up on YouTube and when he came back after his lunch they were in awe of him! He is a legend and it’s people like him who have got us to where we are today: whether that’s with the first-team, or the influence that he has had behind-the-scenes. As Academy Manager, it’s important to me that the new people who come on board carry on the ethos and the messages that we’ve driven in recent years.”
On his new role with Chelsea FC Women, Seb said: “I just couldn’t bare to leave Kingsmeadow! I am moving on to a role with Chelsea Women’s WSL Academy team, working with their goalkeepers and their staff to learn from them, and get a different perspective on the game as well. I’ve had a little bit of experience within the women’s game, but I think this will give me a really good chance to see it in real depth at one of the top clubs in the women’s side of the sport, which is great for me. I feel lucky and privileged that they’ve looked kindly on my experience of playing and coaching. I won't be going too far, but it’s just a shame everyone will be somewhere else, which is obviously good news for Wimbledon with going back to Plough Lane.”
Take a look below at Rob Cornell’s full interview with Seb and look out in the coming days for part two about his unforgettable playing career with us.