With the beautiful game constantly developing over in the United States, St Mirren have announced that Head of Youth Development, David Longwell, is the latest to take up a position across the pond, as the new Academy Director at Orlando City. Longwell will make the move to The States at the end of March.
Longwell has played an integral part of the set-up at the Paisley club ever since 2001 as a Community Coach, and has overseen and contributed to the development of established players such as Kenny McLean, John McGinn and Stephen Mallan since taking the head youth position in 2005.
Longwell’s efforts have been recognised on numerous occasions, noticeably last week, when St Mirren were awarded with the Club Academy Scotland’s Gold Level Award for the third year running.
Speaking to saintmirren.net, Longwell said that “It is with a heavy heart that I announce that I will be leaving St Mirren Football Club. I would like to thank all our staff, players and fans and everyone associated with St Mirren FC for the support and help I have been given during my time at the club.”
Longwell told the club’s website that the offer in Florida was one that he “couldn’t refuse”.
He added: “I would like to thank the St Mirren FC board for their support in allowing me to take up this position, and also for giving me the opportunity to oversee and evolve a wonderful Youth Development programme at St Mirren over the years.”
The new CEO at the Paisley 2021 Stadium, Tony Fitzpatrick, was also keen to sing Longwell’s praises, as he said: ““I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve known David a long time as we had coached together before he joined St Mirren.”
“You just have to look at the players he has produced in his time at St Mirren. He has done an incredible job as he has kids playing proper football while also instilling great values and morals in them. He has also taken the Academy to great levels having earned Club Academy Scotland’s Gold Level which many other clubs haven’t achieved.”
Longwell joins the likes of Owen Coyle, Martin Rennie and Mo Johnson as a Scot who is keen to ply his trade in the United States. He joins the Florida side which formed in 2013, and who finished 7th in the Eastern Conference last season.
Longwell’s presence if sure felt to be missed at St Mirren, who will look to find a new Head of Youth Development to lead the next crop of youngsters into the future.