Ahead of the new season Oxford United are delighted to confirm a number of new additions to their Academy staff team.
Former player Eddie Odhiambo will be joining the club in July in the newly created role of "Head of Academy Player Care" which will see him lead on the mentoring, wellbeing and transition support for all of the young players across the Youth Development Programme.
Eddie is well known to Oxfordshire football fans having been the 68th Academy graduate to represent the Yellows following his debut back in 2006.
After a long playing career, Eddie moved into education and coaching and, last season led North Leigh to a dramatic promotion as first team manager at the West Oxfordshire outfit. A well-respected and experienced professional, Eddie will combine his role at the Yellows with leading North Leigh in their first season at Step Three of the non-league pyramid.
Eddie told us "It’s a club that means a lot to me and being able to help behind the scenes, while continuing my role at North Leigh is a perfect fit for me.”
Joining Eddie are two other former Yellows, with AJ George and Jack Gardner both joining the Academy coaching ranks.
AJ, who will be joining the club's successful "Coach Development Scheme," continues to play at a high level locally following spells at Mansfield and Rushden & Diamonds and will work with our U9-U15s age groups as part of his development this season.
Jack, a graduate of last year's coach development scheme and a former Yellows Youth Captain, has recently returned from a full-time playing placement in Scandinavia and will be working with our 9-11s age groups this season.
Another familiar face joining the staff on a permanent basis is Niall Keown who also graduates from last year's coach development scheme and will this season lead our Under 16s programme on a part-time basis.
Keown, a former scholar at Reading, spent time in Scotland as part of playing career unfortunately cut short by injury and will act as the link between the full-time and part time coaching programmes at the club this season.
In addition to the new faces the club is delighted to confirm the promotion of Matt Jarvis to the role of Assistant Academy Manager. Matt who has been with the club for three seasons, was instrumental in leading the Academy's player support programme throughout the pandemic and will now take on a wider role alongside his existing education & safeguarding responsibilities.
Academy Manager Dan Harris told us:
"We're delighted to welcome Eddie, AJ, Jack & Niall into their new roles.
“As a club we take great pride in the quality of people that make up our staff and all four of these new additions are men of high character who understand the importance of supporting young players as they develop through their Academy journey.
“Eddie is someone I've got to know well over the last four and a half years and his experience in both elite sport and education will certainly help us all as we continue to try and support our young players before, during and after their time in the Academy.
“Matt has been outstanding in his work over the last three seasons and, if you look across the club, there are numerous examples of staff having the opportunity to grow and develop into expanded roles and Matt is the latest to take this step.
“As a full-time staff we've been back in now for ten days prepping for the new season and this weekend sees all parts of the programme restart fully - everyone is excited to get back on the grass and help the club continue to move forward...loads to be positive about as we look ahead!"