Vacancy: Head of Professional Development Phase

An exciting opportunity has arisen to join Sunderland AFC following internal promotion of staff. To lead on the individual, group and team planning of the football pathway within the professional Development Phase, ensuring each player has an up to date and relevant individual plan.

Responsibilities for the role include:

  • Continually work towards the Club’s corporate strategic goals.
  • Communicate and promote the Club culture to enhance an elite high-performance environment.
  • Communicate and engage with internal and external personnel with professional integrity.
  • Recognise potential complaint situations and make effective steps to avoid and/or resolve these situations.
  • Attend all professional development events.
  • Actively engage in a personal development plan and integrated appraisal process.
  • Monitor well-being of others liaising with the Safeguarding and Inclusion Manager where appropriate.
  • Ensure the Club’s Safeguarding Children rules and regulations are adhered to at all times.
  • Promote equality and diversity as part of the culture of the organisation.
  • Head the Professional Development Phase Player Development Programme.
  • Deliver consistent up to date communication with the Academy manager and Head of Coaching
  • surrounding the journey and progression of the players.
  • Align coaches and the coaching programme to the club’s coaching and playing philosophy within the Professional Development Phase.
  • Oversee the planning of blocks of work within the coaching programme for the Professional Development Phase.
  • Connect and collaborate with First team and PDP staff surrounding training support and team selections for u23s and u18 squads.
  • Connect with YDP staff surrounding training support and team selections for the u16 and u18 squads.
  • Support the appropriate staff to wrap around the individual support for U16 players transitioning into the U18 squad.
  • Observe and prioritise individual player development on match days for the Professional Development Phase.
  • Attend Professional Development Phase matches and support coaches as required.
  • Support Professional Development Phase coaches with all aspects of daily routines.
  • Create a best-in-class Professional Development Phase programme and environment support and, when required, deliver CPD events to develop internal staff.
  • Support and be creative with an evolving coaching programme.
  • Plan, deliver and execute specialist training sessions that prioritise an individual player development focus.
  • Prepare players for the expectations and demands of senior professional football, including training and loan spells at various clubs.
  • Use craft and knowledge to support the player journey through individual, unit and team delivery.
  • Ensure the Performance Management Application (PMA) is completed and up to date in line with EPPP rules.
  • Liaise with parents of players within the Professional Development Phase when required.
  • Ensure compliance with all the policies and procedures contained within the Staff Handbook, paying regard to the Equal Opportunity, Dignity at Work and Health & Safety and security policies.

The successful candidate will have experience of a similar role in football or other sports sectors and specifically, experience of working with players aged 16 to 21. Must hold a UEFA A Licence and Advanced Youth Award.

The position is full time (40 hours per week), with working hours being flexible around business demands and include all home and away fixtures, including evening and weekend work as required. You will be expected to undertake any specific training or Continued Professional Development to maintain your up-to-date knowledge and qualifications, and/or as organised by the club.

If you feel you have the relevant skills and wish to be considered for this position, please complete the attached application form and return to As part of our safer recruitment policy, please note that CV’s will not be accepted for this role.

The closing date for all applications is 15 August 2022.



Sunderland AFC is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to a policy of treating all employees and job applicants equally. Our aim is that all colleagues should be able to work in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and bullying.


Sunderland AFC is fully committed to the safeguarding and welfare of children, young people, adults at risk and all vulnerable groups within the organisation. Sunderland AFC owes a duty of care to safeguard all children, young people, adults at risk and all vulnerable groups involved in activities as organised by the football club. Sunderland AFC makes provisions for children, young people, adults at risk and all vulnerable groups through adherence to the Safeguarding Policies and Procedures adopted by the Club.

Back to top