World-renowned coach Alf Galustian recently visited our academy to help put the foundations in place for the stars of tomorrow.
Coerver Coaching co-founder Alf, who started his career as a youth player at Wimbledon, hosted a staff development workshop for our academy coaches. Academy Manager Michael Hamilton was delighted to welcome a man who lists England Rugby Head Coach Eddie Jones and former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as close friends.
Indeed, Alf was involved a few years back when Jones visited our training ground for a coaching session with our academy players and current Head Coach Mark Robinson.
Michael said: ‘’The relationship with Alf and the academy goes back as far as I can remember. The connection initially started when Alf worked with Mark.
“Since I’ve been academy manager, I’ve been using Alf as an aid to see how we can evolve our development programme here. Covid meant we weren’t able to execute some of the ideas we had planned but as soon as things started to open back up again we revisited our planning.
“You spend any time with Alf and his mind is just whizzing with knowledge and information. He often apologises for ‘rambling on’ but what he doesn’t realise is he is dropping nuggets of powerful information that really helps us.”
Speaking about his visit. Alf said: ‘’Over the past seven years or so I have been pleased to mentor Mark Robinson and assist in the education of players and coaches at the Club. AFC Wimbledon has a special place in my heart - it was where I began my football career as a young player in the youth team. Fast forward 50-plus years and I’ve had a very fortunate career, including being a coach educator at clubs such as Bayern Munich, Juventus, Arsenal, Real Madrid, and Benfica.
“From the early days when I started Coerver Coaching with former Chelsea player Charlie Cooke, we’ve had the view that ball mastery is the foundation upon which you build all the important parts of the game (tactical, physical and mental) at elite level.
“My home is at AFC Wimbledon and now that I’m towards the end of my career I would like to do whatever is helpful for the Club. I think in-house player development is hugely important. It makes financial sense in these times of irrational transfers and it can provide a playing style that fans hopefully will enjoy.
“Our first topic was the effective teaching of one versus one. This is a topic that can make a huge difference in a game. Not for the skill in isolation, but because players who have this quality can create space to pass or shoot or run with the ball. This converts an isolated skill to an essential asset for the team; especially in the ability to create and score more goals.
“I look forward to working with Mark and Michael to assist the club in developing players and coaches that will add to its amazing history.’’
Alf (centre) is pictured with our academy coaches at the training ground.