Southampton’s Les Reed to talk academies at Soccerex Global Convention
Les Reed, Executive Director of Football for Southampton FC, will speak at the upcoming Soccerex Global Convention, 26th-28th September, Manchester. Les will be giving an insight into the Saints academy, which in recent years has produced national stars such as Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlaide Chamberlain, Luke Shaw and of course Gareth Bale. On a panel entitled “Academies: A Foundation for Success” Les will share his extensive experience on player development, as well as the role academies play in the strategic and commercial development of football clubs. On a panel entitled “Academies: A Foundation for Success” Les will share his extensive experience on player development, as well as the role academies play in the strategic and commercial development of football clubs.
Les’ football career started with him playing for sides such as Cambridge United, Watford and Wycombe Wanderers as a centre forward, however Les quickly moved away from the playing side of the game to focus on his career off the pitch. After graduating with an honours degree in Physical Education Les earned the opportunity to kick off his managerial career in non league football, with spells at several Non-League clubs culminating with Wealdstone where he coached the team to the non-league double of FA Trophy and Football Conference Champions. In 1986, he joined the FA where he worked in a variety of roles over a 9 year period, before joining Charlton Atheltic to become Assistant Manager to Alan Curbishley. After 3 years with the club and promotion to the Premier League, Les went back to the FA to assume the role of Director of Technical Development, overseeing the development of Academies and National Youth Teams where he influenced the careers of many future England Internationals including Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard under the England set up.
Once his time at the FA came to an end, he returned once again to Charlton Athletic to develop overseas academies but soon became Iain Dowie’s assistant, Reed was made Manager shortly after arriving back at the club, when Dowie departed. After further roles at Fulham and operating his own football consultancy business, Les was appointed Head of Football Development at Southampton in 2010 and has been at the club ever since, now in the role of Executive Director of Football and Board member Les was awarded his PhD by Anglia Ruskin University; Cambridge in 2015 for his Academic contribution to the development of Football, he was also inducted into the FA Hall of Fame.
During the Academy session, Les will be speaking alongside, Gerard Houllier, Gilberto Silva Alain Belsoeur, the man who oversaw the Le Havre academy that produced the likes of Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Riyad Mahrez. He will call on his experience of player development throughout the clubs he’s been involved with in his career, alongside his take on the role of academies in football, and how clubs academies can be a foundation for clubs to build on for the future. The session will see five renowned experts in player development dissect the structures, resources and management required to form an academy that delivers success on every level.
Les will be contributing to the thought provoking conference programme at the Soccerex Global Convention 2016, designed to deliver unique business insight across a variety of key sectors and subject matters ranging from sponsorship and fan engagement to technological innovations and stadium development. For more information on the programme, see here