Jack Collison returns to West Ham United as U16s manager
West Ham United are pleased to confirm that Jack Collison has been appointed as the Academy of Football’s new U16 manager.
The former Hammers and Wales midfielder returns to the Club where he made 121 appearances between 2008 and 2014, having himself graduated from the Academy in 2007.
Collison, who has embarked on a successful coaching career since a knee injury forced him to end his playing days early, cannot wait to start work with West Ham’s promising Academy players.
“It feels fantastic,” he told West Ham TV. “Obviously I have many great memories with the Club and I've been through an awful lot, some good times and some bad times.
“I came through as a kid into the reserves and obviously made my mark on the first team so to come back in a coaching capacity is really exciting and I just can't wait to get going now.
“I spoke to Terry [Westley] before a couple of times and the opportunity to come home came up for me. Having spoke to Nobes and spoke to Terry as well, seeing his passion and the plan they have here and to have the opportunity to get back home and help some of these young lads to try and help them on their journeys was really exciting.”
Born in Watford, Collison grew up in Bedfordshire and played schoolboy football for both Peterborough United and Cambridge United before joining the Hammers at the age of 16 in 2005.
A technically-gifted midfielder, Collison captained the reserve team before being handed his first-team debut by another Academy graduate, Alan Curbishley, at Arsenal on New Year’s Day 2008.
Just five months later, the 19-year-old made his first of 15 senior appearances for Wales, a country he qualified for through his grandfather.
Collison’s career continued to flourish under Gianfranco Zola as he was named Young Hammer of the Year, only for a knee injury initially suffered in March 2009 and relegation from the Premier League in 2011 to disrupt his career.
To come back in a coaching capacity is really exciting and I just can't wait to get going now
However, the likeable former Hammer showed courage and conviction to play through the pain and help the Club regain their top-flight status at Wembley in May 2012.
After short loan spells at AFC Bournemouth and Wigan Athletic and permanent stints with Ipswich Town and Peterborough, Collison hung up his boots in February 2016 – but he had already put the foundations in place for his coaching career
Still just 27, Collison had already launched his own soccer school, started a sports media degree, attained a UEFA B licence and taken up the role of Lead PDP (Professional Development Phase) Coach at Peterborough, developing the League One club’s promising youngsters.
Now, he will bring his ability and enthusiasm back to east London.
“I can’t wait,” confirmed Collison, who is working towards his UEFA A licence. “I got great experience at Peterborough, coaching the youth team day in, day out, and learning about lots of new things I didn’t deal with as a player and earning my stripes.
“Having my soccer school has enabled me to coach players from the age of two right up to first-team age, while I’ve also been doing my badges and gained experience coaching in Finland and America and visiting quite a few clubs.
“I’ve been learning my trade and now I feel I’m in a good position to try and pass on what I have learned and nurture the future products of the Club.”
Everyone at West Ham United would like to welcome Jack on his return and wish him all the best as he embarks on his exciting new role with the Academy of Football.