Oxford United Women have added four new backroom staff members. Tom Hartley comes in as Assistant Manager, Dan Saunders as Head of Goalkeeping, Dean Tetley as Head of Physical Performance and George Anthony as Development Squad Manager.
Tom Hartley will aid United boss Liam Gilbert in being part of an exciting and talented coaching set up. Three years working at Arsenal has provided Tom with a wealth of coaching experience, working on the development of the women’s and girls’ football programmes.
“One of the most enjoyable aspects of that role at Arsenal was creating an environment where all of the players felt physically and psychologically safe – that whole notion of playing without a fear of failure or being able to take risks in training and in games. That takes some work, working with a team of coaches to help give the players confidence to not worry about making mistakes.
“It’s been a great first few weeks at Oxford; I’ve been involved in four or five training sessions with Liam and the rest of the team, and I have to say that it has been a really positive experience. It’s been nice to meet a group of very energised players who are looking forward to the season ahead, and it has been nice to settle in among a team of like-minded coaches as well.”
Dean Tetley has been brought in for the new season as Head of Physical Performance, to oversee and implement a physical performance plan all the way from the first team to the academy. He recently completed his postgraduate degree in Sport and Applied Science and has previous experience in women’s football with Portsmouth, as well as in the men’s game with Southampton and Crystal Palace.
Upon joining the U’s, Dean highlighted the positive atmosphere around the club as a key factor in his decision to be part of Liam Gilbert’s coaching team: “I’m very passionate about what I do. I like developing players, and there’s a real buzz around not just the first team but also the RTC at the moment. Developing technically and physically, everyone knows that they are working towards a common goal and that goal is to make the club as successful as possible, but that stems from making the players as successful as possible.”
United have also further strengthened the coaching team with the arrival of Dan Saunders as Head of Goalkeeping. With over 20 years of goalkeeping experience, Dan started his coaching career at Watford and later moved on to the FA as a skills coach for nine years. Dan has had goalkeeping roles at Arsenal and Wycombe Wanderers, coaching in the player development centres and elite programmes. However, this won’t be the first role at Oxford that Dan has held:
“I’ve worked with the Trust and also the boys’ academy, which I really enjoyed. This is a great family club, with lots of exciting things going on within the club, so this is a great opportunity to come back and work with the women’s first team and also the RTC.
“As a coach I want to push myself, I want to challenge myself, I want to coach in the best leagues that I can.”
In addition, United have added talented coach George Anthony as Development Squad Manager, as the club builds upon the introduction of the exciting new Development Squad for 2020/21.
“The Development Squad is a great project for the club,” George told us. “It creates that pathway from the RC to the first team, so I’m really excited. The coaches do fantastic work in the RTC, and you can see with the players we have that have moved from the RTC into the Development Team. This year there is a really high standard with some really technically good players.”