Charlie Musselwhite: From academy scholar to Assistant Academy Manager.
Following a recent promotion, Charlie Musselwhite has enjoyed a positive start to the season; much like our unbeaten under 18’s this year having been appointed Assistant Academy Manager; alongside his role as Head of Academy Operations.
Now a number of weeks into his new function, Charlie will continue to directly support Academy Director David Longwell as Town strive to continually produce the Salop stars of the future.
However, his lengthy journey didn’t start as a member of staff. Having grown up in Shrewsbury playing football, Charlie was scouted aged 11 for the very same academy he is now managing. Despite spending a number of years progressing through the system, the playing journey came to an end and the coaching expedition soon started.
“I have definitely been with the academy a long time,” said Charlie. “It all started when I was 13 years old and I got scouted for Town via the county trials. I came in as a 13-year-old and got signed into the academy around six weeks later. I went through all of the age groups and earned a scholarship. Towards the end of my scholarship, I was unfortunately informed that I was being released.
“Following that, I went to university at Loughborough and did my Bachelor’s there for three years. Towards the end of my degree, former Academy Manager Andy Jones got in contact with me and suggested I came in and did some work with the club.
“At that time, I was doing a little bit of everything. I was shadowing coaches on the pitch, doing analysis work, things around nutrition and sports science. Quite quickly, it came to fruition that my passion was within coaching. That’s when I became a part-time coach within the academy and it’s grown from there.
“Following my part-time role as an under sevens and nines coach, I became the Foundation Phase Lead which was a full-time role mainly looking after the Under-12’s and younger; whether that’s on the grass or off the field with admin and logistics. Around 12 months ago, I was doing more administration work for David Longwell before he encouraged me to take the Head of Operations role alongside that Foundation Phase role.
“The Head of Operations role is there to further improve standards, whether that’s the logistical side of things or administrative side of it. There are many things we have improved off the pitch as well as on the pitch.”
Now Assistant Academy Manager, Charlie is proud to represent his home county club and is hoping to see more players following in the footsteps of Tom Bloxham, Charlie Caton and Jaden Bevan.
With former New York Red Bulls and Orlando City Academy Manager David Longwell just shy of three years into his time with Salop, Charlie is excited for the future of the programme and feels the academy is in a strong position to utilise the pathway forged by the current management team.
“It was a proud moment for my family and myself,” said Charlie. “I remember watching games at Gay Meadow when I was very young and it’s amazing to see where my journey has taken me. This is a really exciting time for my family and me. I’m still young and I’m still in the early stages of my coaching journey but this is a role that I’m extremely proud to be doing.
“I am delighted that Brian Caldwell and David have given me this opportunity to have a positive impact upon the players, the staff and the restructure with the academy. We all just want to continue the good work that David has been doing already.
“David is different to any other person I’ve worked with before and I think that’s one of the many things that make him great at what he does. He’s developed players everywhere he’s been and you can see that in the short-term within our age groups across the board. I feel as though I’ve learnt a lot from him despite it only being two-and-a-half years.”