Weston building a ‘pathway’ for sucess with Academy says Louis Dean

PUBLISHED: 13:00 02 June 2020

Ben Crook with his Weston coaches Louis and Lloyd Dean. Picture: Louis Dean/Weston FC

Ben Crook with his Weston coaches Louis and Lloyd Dean. Picture: Louis Dean/Weston FC


Ever since Louis Dean arrived at Weston, he has had one goal and that is the “pathway” to success.

After arriving two years ago, Dean and younger brother Lloyd coached the under-14s and will now follow their journey up to when they turn 16.

And Dean believes the opportunities the club possess is key to their future.

“There are a lot of academies around,” he said. “A lot of them when you get to the under-16s, unless you get spotted and go on to play for Bristol Rovers or City, will go and probably look to play for Weston anyway.

“I believe the pathway to our under-16s teams licence with the college and then the first team is more achievable for young players within the area.”

Having started his coaching career at Berrow, who he led to two promotions including into the Somerset Premier, Dean now juggles his time coaching Weston and Weston Crusaders but it’s with the Seagulls where he feels part of the family.

“It’s a very good club, even though it’s the academy, it’s a local club, it still has that family feel,” he added. “We have coaches’ meetings, all different ages link into each other, as a coach you are part of it, you can give your input and they listen to you.

“As an overall club it’s the best one in the local area to work with and the facilities are fantastic with the 3G pitch. Last season we all played a game on the first-team pitch against opposition to give an opportunity to the players to get that feeling of playing in a stadium just like the first team.”

As one of only 22 clubs outside the Football League to achieve an invitation-only Academy Licence, Dean feels it’s down to certain individuals helping the club pick up the accolade.

“It’s fantastic, the club and the likes of Mark McKeever and Craig Graham have worked really hard pushing the academy forward,” he said.

“To get that is fantastic so now as coaches we respond to that. Everything as coaches to players it’s great for the local area to have that but it links back to that pathway and it helps promote it even further.”

Despite coming to an age where football is becoming more serious, Dean wants his side to enjoy themselves which he hopes will help them in the future.

“At the end of the day it’s football in an academy. You still need the fun side of it,” he added.

“Even though they are getting to the age now where it’s going to be a lot more tactical and technical if they are going into the first team we need to be able to coach because they won’t be with us all the time.

“If they get a different manager, we need to coach them to make sure they know where to be on a pitch in relation to where the football is. Whatever team they are with, or manager they are with we are setting that platform to understand.”

Dean’s main aim is to help players realise their potential and during his first season with the club he helped Ben Crook get a move to Football League side Cheltenham Town.

“We were actively seeking clubs to look at Ben, because we could see already the ability and the talent he had,” he said.

“He was scoring in the junior Premier League 50-odd goals. We were not doing that well which just goes to show. You think about the club, it’s players’ long-term development at the end of the day.

“If you think they’re better than the standard they are as a coach, we should be looking to push them forward.”

Known by players and families as ‘the statsmaster’ Dean aims to teach the teenagers differently as he helps them grow in their game and for the future.

“Stats don’t tell everything but it’s an improvement we don’t do who just scored goals, but who has got the most assists,” he said.

“We get the video system out which we get to watch our games, which is fantastic, and the club has invested heavily in. Each week different teams from the academy take it in turns. The game gets videoed and we can download it as a coach in the evening and send links to players to watch back their game and we can use that for our training.

“Our training becomes very detailed; we spend a lot of time planning the sessions and as a coach everyone learns in different ways. I use a lot of flip in the classroom, what flips is how different players learn for me I won’t just stand there just talking at a player.

“We create YouTube videos, snippets of the game, tactical positional videos for players. If they know they are going to play left-back and we are playing this formation they can watch this video prior to understand what they need to do.

“We send them links of other teams. Once we were a bit lazy in their recovery runs so we sent them a 10-second video of Napoli a couple of years ago all sprinting back to try and get the ball.

“They are at ages where they learn in different ways so as a coach you need to recognise that you’ve got to change it around and adapt it to the players.”

Callum Eastwood, Ben Griffith and Ryan Jones all played for Weston last season, with the latter two signing first senior deals with the club, and Dean says the trio are an inspirational and example for young players looking to break into the first team set-up.

“They are great reference points,” he added. “They show that it can be done and at the time these were just younger players coming through the academy. They are doing really well now and if everyone can see it, it can be achieved yourself.”

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