DARREN Scoulding said the opportunity to work within AFC Sudbury’s Academy was too good to turn down.
Darren (pictured above) will leave Suffolk FA at the end of this month to become Head of the AFC Sudbury Girls’ Football Academy.
His role will involve working with the players on daily coaching sessions and academic support and a full midweek matchday league programme competing in the National Football Youth League, English Colleges FA Premier League and English Schools FA Premier League.
The 48-year-old joined Suffolk FA in April 2017 as Flexible Football Officer before becoming Senior Football Development Officer around ten months later.
Darren said: “I have enjoyed my time at Suffolk FA, working across a wide range of areas from Walking Football to Monday Night Leagues and seeing the Pan-Disability league grow.
“Developing the offering of Futsal in schools has given me great satisfaction and a memory that I will always treasure will be of watching Bealings Primary School representing themselves and Suffolk so well at St George’s Park in the National Schools’ Futsal Finals.
“Coming from a coaching background I enjoyed seeing the impact that Coach Education continued to have in supporting the many coaches across the county and who cannot forget the annual KBB Grassroots Festivals where hundreds of players celebrate the rich football environment we have in the county!
“From a personal perspective, I was honoured to sit on the panel for the National Grassroots awards two years running, judging the coaching category with Sir Trevor Brooking and then Sir Geoff Hurst in consecutive years and culminating in the awards ceremony at Wembley matchdays.”
Darren, who played for several Eastern Counties League clubs and coaches a girls’ teams at Ipswich Valley Rangers, replaces Jamie Souza, who emigrated to the USA earlier this year.
Looking ahead to his new role Darren said: “Coaching in youth football environments and specifically within the female game, the opportunity to work and help to develop talented players on a daily basis within AFC Sudbury’s Academy was too good to turn down.
“The AFC Sudbury Academy has established itself as a forerunner of people and player development since its inception and has built up a shining reputation in providing opportunities to young players.
“With 36 female players due to be studying and playing with the Academy over the 2020-21 season, this is a tremendous chance to build on the excellent work already done to date. I can’t wait to get started!”
AFC Sudbury Academy Director Danny Laws said: “We are all delighted to have secured Darren as our new Head of the Girls’ Football Academy at AFC Sudbury.
“Everyone who knows him within the football community will know the personality, professionalism and drive he will add to our already highly successful team of staff.
“The Girls’ Academy is in its second year and enters an exciting time with our brand-new cohort of players to add to last year's existing crop.
“We will be continuing to compete in the two highest national Girls’ U19 Academy Leagues and I know our structure was something that appealed to Darren when the position became available.”
Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal said: “Darren’s contribution to Suffolk FA since he joined in April 2017 has been significant.
“His work to improve our coach development programme, futsal offer, network of walking football centres across Suffolk, promotion of flexible football, and general positive influence on the cohesion of the team mean we are sad that he will be leaving us, but he does so with our friendship and very best wishes.”