Academy graduate James Mant looks forward to the upcoming season for Needham Market Reserves after being named reserve team manager.
James was assistant manager for the reserves under Kevin Horlock who was appointed first team manager midway last season.
James enrolled into Needham Market Academy in 2015 and completed the BTEC Level 3 Diploma before completing an apprenticeship. This experience resulted in James appointed as Academy coach and now has a full-time role as Assistant Academy Manager incorporating coaching and managing facilities.
James has shown a very good desire and ability to both coach and manage. He has learnt under previous Academy Managers Steve Foley, Kem Izzet and Karl Dugid and current Manager Kevin Horlock. Managing the Reserves accompanies James’ other roles within the club including U18’s Assistant Manager. Last season James was Needham Market’s U16’s Head Coach alongside his role as Manager for the U16s Suffolk County Schools’ FA representative team.
Academy Director, Robert Peace says: “James has continued to impress with his high levels of attention and development within his role in the Academy. This is a fantastic achievement for James to be managing at step 6 aged 21 and he deserves full credit for his achievements to date. Current and future Academy students should use James’ as inspiration to what they can achieve if they work hard.”
James Mant says: “I’m grateful that the club have put the trust in me to take on the responsibility of this role. I’ve been involved with the reserves for the past 5 years, as a player, coach, then assistant manager, so I feel I’ve learnt a lot within that 5-year period which will definitely help us going forwards.
“I came through the system here at Needham initially as a player, but quite early into my second year my head was more focused on coaching than it was playing, so I made the decision to stop playing all together. The club and Steve Foley – Academy manager at the time - gave me full support in my decision to get into coaching and allowed me to work closely with the coaching team right from the start. I started off coaching on a voluntary basis whilst finishing off my education; that progressed into an apprenticeship; which then led to a full-time job within the academy. So, the opportunities I’ve been given to get to this stage are something I will forever be grateful for.
“With regards to the reserves; Kevin has implemented strong foundations since his arrival, so it’s now my job to keep them foundations in place and make sure that the environment is right for players to be able to reach their potential. Me and Kevin have a really good relationship, so we will continue to work together closely to make sure that everything throughout the club follows the same pathway. The whole club now feels connected and re-energised so I’m really looking forward to seeing what the future brings for both Needham Market Academy and Needham Market Football Club.”