Former scholar talks about his move into Academy coachingShrewsbury Town’s academy system has a fantastic reputation throughout football. Graduates such as Joe Hart, Dave Edwards and Ryan Woods illustrate that the work being done behind the scenes is of the highest standard.
Unfortunately not every player makes his way to the heights of the professional game, and some ultimately fall away from football altogether, but Charlie Musselwhite has a different story.
Musselwhite spent four years at Town’s academy after joining as an U14, before being released at U18 level.
Now, after completing a Sports Science degree at Loughborough University, Musselwhite is back at the club as a coach in the very academy where he used to play his football as a youngster.
He now works with the U7 and U9 age groups at the club, and he says that he’s pleased with the progress he’s made so far to work his way back into the game, especially to recover from the initial blow of being released.
“I didn’t receive any rejection when I was younger so it was the first bit of rejection that I’ve suffered, so that was a bit of a painful process for me.
“I bounced back well. Instead of going back to the pro game, I went on a different route, I went to university straight after, and then I got the opportunity to go back into the professional game through coaching.”
Musselwhite credits the academy for preparing him for such an eventuality, as he completed his first coaching badge whilst still at the club as an U18 in 2013.
He said: “When I got my scholarship we started our coaching badges at the same time when I was in the under-18s.
He then went on to further his experience once he was at university, and he is now back at the club after making contact with academy manager Andy Jones.
Musselwhite continued: “When I was at university at in Loughborough, I did a bit of coaching with them and I was manager of the second team.
“Then I spoke to AJ just before I graduated and he said that I had an opportunity to come and further my coaching down here.”
A local boy, Musselwhite also recalled his early days supporting the club at the old ground, and expressed his delight in being able to put something back into his hometown club.
“From a young age I was down at Gay Meadow in the stands, when you used to have to stand up.
“I’ve seen the club progress, and coming back I can see the academy going in a forward direction, so it’s very good for me to come back to the club I’ve been with for the majority of my life.
“I do like working with the younger age groups and helping the players like I used to be, so I’m giving something back.”