Meet Matt Langley – Worthing’s new Under 18’s Manager
Worthing Football Club are pleased to announce that Matt Langley has been appointed as manager of the Under 18’s for the 2018-19 season.
Langley’s appointment allows Calvin Buckland to return to his role as Managing Director and pursue some of the exciting off field projects which are currently happening and in the pipeline.
Before summer really kicked in, I met up with Matt to find out some more about him and to hear his views on being involved at Worthing for the coming season.
WFC: Matt, welcome to Worthing FC, we wish you every success here. Can you give us some background about yourself?
ML: I started as a part-time coach with a private coaching company whilst I was still at college. The lead guy from there went on to set up Pro Direct Coaching, which is well known across Sussex, and that turned into a full time job there once I left college.
I stayed there until I was 24, so a good 8 years experience gained but I needed to find a job which paid the bills, which I did, I still work with kids but not sports based. I wanted to stay in sports coaching so I joined a club called AFC Strikers based near Shoreham and took them from Under 8’s through to Under 15’s.
Last season I took the team over to Bostik League side Shoreham to become their County League Under 18 side eager for a challenge instead of easily winning games as we were one of the top Sunday League sides around. We had an indifferent season, finished 5th, but on reflection we could have done better. Considering a lot of my team were dual-signed to the likes of Lewes, Shoreham and Whitehawk we didn’t always field a strong side, but for 16 year olds playing Under 18 football, I was happy with the progress.
I wanted to come to a club that gives youth a chance and in Worthing I feel and can see there is every chance for a player if they work hard and have the talent to progress.
WFC: What do you feel you can bring to the club on top of the foundations that are already here?
ML: I have a good network built up through the coaching I’ve done already, both players and managers I can call on. Quite a few of my squad last year made up the Sussex FA Under 15 side so to have those and get them coming through will be a massive start. I’ve already been speaking to players who’ve been dropped by academies higher up or didn’t quite make it the first time.
I watched a lot of the Under 18’s games last season and there are a fantastic set of players already here and to be able to add even more to that is what I’m looking to do. If I can integrate those into the current squad, we can then begin to flow players through to the first team, those players will have a good two solid years and will hopefully be ready for Adam (Hinshelwood) to take on, or for someone else.
WFC: What aspirations have you got to manage beyond Worthing Under 18’s?
ML: I certainly don’t see this as a stepping stone for me. As I mentioned before, having taken a side from Under 8’s to the top this is the next progression in coaching for me. At the very least I would want to see the boys I bring here complete their two years from 16 to 18 and from there who knows where it will go!
WFC: Having seen the off-field advances over the past few months, do you feel the club comes together as a unit rather than individual teams?
ML: It certainly feels like it! Previous clubs I’ve been at you’re left to fend for yourself as one team with no or very little help. Coming here feels more joined up and together, something I’m looking forward to really. Adam’s presence at games is a big boost to the boys, I haven’t not seen him at an Under 18 game and to have that knowledge when you step out on the pitch that the first team manager is watching you is massive believe me! Here you can see a clear pathway from the youth team to the first team.
WFC: And of course the creation of the new Academy.
ML: That’s another great addition here. To have a steady flow of players in a few years time is vital for the future of the club. There is so much talent out there in the Worthing Leagues that can come here, get an education and top coaching as well, it’s a good blueprint for success.
You want to be at a club that has a buzz about it, to attract players. Some of those I know who want to come here have seen the atmosphere at first time games and they want to be a part of it, it makes it an easier sell.
Harrison Mott for me is the example, a first year player who made his debut in front of a crowd of 1,000. That’s what these guys can be doing. Seeing players like Matt Boiling, who was an AFC Strikers player before going to Brighton, coming out from their academy, playing well, getting first team chances and then performing consistently on loan last season, shows it can be done.
Having spoken to Calvin (Buckland) and gained his input and listened to the club ethos, it made my decision for me. The potential is here, I think back two seasons to the FA Youth Cup game attracting over 1,000 people, it would be great to get a run again.
If or when I do walk away, I want to be able to say I’ve produced around 40 first team players, whether they play for Adam, which is the aim of course, or end up elsewhere as a first team player, that’s my job. A steady stream of players will help Adam not need to look constantly for players to improve what he has and being local it attaches them into the club and not wanting to go elsewhere.
WFC: Matt, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us.