The Board are very pleased to announce the next stage of the football restructure with the appointment of Jon Haile as football development director.
Jon will improve the ongoing development of the club by reviewing the football academy framework already in operation. He brings high-quality organisational management, coaching skills, player knowledge and recruitment to the position.
Haile, who was previously with the club when he worked with Craig Laird from 2010-2012 before leaving for Bristol City, will be leaving his current role with Liverpool FC academy at the end of the month in order to take up his new post.
Haile said: “This is a very exciting time for the club and a great opportunity for me personally. I have been very happy at Liverpool and have I learned a lot as you can imagine but this was all about timing.
“I had been considering an interesting role with a Championship club because it was closer to home and around the same time I had a discussion with Weston. When they outlined their plans with what they wanted to achieve I told them that I wanted to be part of it.”
The board have moved quickly to make this appointment and the emphasis will be on encouraging local talent and providing a more effective pathway for players to make the transition between youth football and first-team football at National League level. Having previously worked at Bristol City and Liverpool’s academies, newly appointed Haile is promising to bridge the gap between youth football and first-team football at the Woodspring Stadium. And he says he is committed to giving more local players the opportunity to try and make it into the first team.
Haile said: “We are looking to introduce a change of culture, one that will pave the way for more young players to graduate to the first team. It will take time but the plans we are putting in place are exciting and will produce results for the long term.
“Where clubs have been successful in bringing young players through their systems both here and abroad, it is clear that the academies have been the heartbeat of the club. My first task will be to re-launch the academy.
“The key four areas of attention will be the vision and philosophy of the academy, the infrastructure, the technical approach and the education provision. Work is already underway in all of these areas.
“I want the academy to have very strong links with the wider community and I want the best players from the area to want come and play for Weston because we will offer the best coaching, excellent facilities, further education opportunities and most importantly, a genuine pathway through youth football into the first team.”
With regard to the first team, Haile was optimistic about the upcoming season. He said: “Another important part of my role will be to support Ryan with what he is trying to achieve. He is an excellent coach and has a very talented group of young players. I think we need to add to what is a small squad and I aim to use my knowledge of players and contacts to fill what gaps Ryan deems necessary.
“It’s going to take time to produce our own players who will be ready for this level so in the meantime recruitment of new players and the retention of our existing ones will be key this summer.”