Andy Keen (left) with Andy Peaks (centre) and Marcin Klima (right).

AFC Rushden & Diamonds are delighted to announce the appointment of Andy Keen as Under 21s Manager. Andy takes charge of the team immediately, ahead of their campaign in the new United Counties League U21 Division. He will be joined by Marcin Klima who, after a period as Caretaker Manager, returns to his Assistant Manager role with the U21s team.

Former Reading FC Academy coach Andy, who counts Thatcham Town, Beaconsfield SYCOB and Sandhurst Town amongst his previous clubs, was most recently involved in men’s football as manager of Hellenic League Premier Divison side Bracknell Town. After taking a break from involvement in the game, before re-discovering his passion for coaching with AFC R&D Under 15 Rebels last season, the UEFA B licensed coach is thoroughly looking forward to starting his new role. He told afcdiamonds.com: “Managing the Under 21s team is a new and interesting challenge for me and one which I will relish. After speaking with the Chairman and Manager, I could see that they place huge importance on the club developing and nurturing young, talented players and I had no hesitation in accepting the position when it was offered to me. Of course, the team is competing for the same players as lots of other local clubs, but I know that I can provide coaching which will have a significant effect on players and hopefully that, delivered in the professional environment provided by AFC R&D, is something which will make players want to come and play for us. Andy Peaks has challenged me to provide him with further selection headaches for the first team and that is exactly what I plan to do.”

Andy Peaks was similarly buoyant about the new addition to his management team: “The Under 21s plays a vital role at the club, providing me with cover in case of injuries or suspensions and bringing through the next generation of talent to the first team. As the father of one of the club’s scholarship students, I can see how the team can play a significant part in his football education and help him to make the transition from youth to men’s football. In Andy, we’ve found someone who we can really trust to oversee this process. When talking to him, his enthusiasm for the job is infectious and I have no doubt that he will be an inspiring manager to play for.”

Chairman Ralph Burditt added:“We had applicants of an impressively high standard for this position. What set Andy apart, as well as his wealth of experience and qualifications, was his genuine passion for bringing young players through to the first team and his belief that he will be successful in this. I know that with this appointment, we have acquired the services of someone who is going to make a very significant contribution to the club.”

Andy will combine his position as Under 21 Manager with his existing job managing the Rebels, who will be at U16 level this season.

Any players interested in joining the AFC R&D U21 team should email u21trials@afcdiamonds.com for more information.

 
 
 

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