In our ‘Getting to know you’ series we will be introducing the coaching staff from the club’s youth development set up.
These are the coaches who will be looking to develop youngsters coming up through the youth section, to prepare them for senior football and provide a pathway towards the first team squad.
Andrew Thomson - Youth Development Phase Lead
Andrew Thomson has been coaching for 12 years and is a Level 2/UEFA B Student coach.
The 36-year-old has been coaching the youth development squad at the club and his day job is Artificer Vehicles in the Army.
Andrew grew up in Scotland playing both football and rugby from an early age, and this continued into his Army career where he played, coached and managed at various units since 2002.
AFC Portchester is his first foray into civilian and youth football as a coach. Andrew said: “I got into coaching because I felt football teams were a bit cliquey in that the managers always wanted to do just drills and use the best players.
“No one ever wanted to develop the other players to improve them. The whole ethos and philosophy were based on results rather than development.
“This is where I felt players were being let down and decided that I could help the situation by becoming a coach. For me, the best part of being a coach is helping all the players develop to their individual potential.
“Going back to my reason for coaching, what I like about it is when you help a player develop a new technique or the ‘light bulb’ moment when they previously struggled to understand something but now they ‘get it’.
“The other side is the challenge of managing the different personalities within a squad and getting the best out of them on game day. This can be really challenging and really tests your ability as a coach but it is something I enjoy.”
In his role as the Youth Development Phase Lead, Andrew will work closely with the club and coaches to implement a playing and coaching philosophy for the under-12s to under-16s age groups, using the Football Association’s four corner model to help develop players.
He added: “I will also work with the club and coaches to implement and develop a training syllabus for all teams within the Youth Development Phase.
“We will encourage all existing and new coaches to follow the philosophy and training syllabus. I will act as a mentor to all the Youth Development Phase coaches, offering advice and assistance if required.
“I will be available to attend training sessions or games at the weekend when time permits and when it is requested.”
Andrew is looking forward to developing his new role and the impact it can have on the development of the club moving forwards.
He added: “Having only been at the club a short while it impressed me with the philosophy and the direction it wanted to take - not only within the Youth Development Phase but the club as a whole.
“I felt within this role I will be able to have more input and responsibility in helping improve the players so they reach their potential. This will be through mentoring the other coaches or assisting them if requested.
“The improvements within the club are something I truly believe in and believe it is an exciting challenge, and something I decided I would like to be a part of.
“The ultimate goal is having a first team of AFC Portchester youth players while also getting promoted through the leagues.”
When he isn’t coaching, Andrew enjoys going to the gym and spending time with his wife and children, and family walks with the dog. His other hobbies include playing squash and golf.