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Coaching changes in the Chelsea academy

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Paul Thomas

In a move that's being billed as a great new and exciting challenge, Dermot Drummy has been promoted to what Chelsea are calling 'international head coach.'  That's fairly confusing terminology -- no, he's wasn't named the head coach of a national team -- it's a brand new position created within the organization "to support specific aspects of Chelsea's growing number of overseas partnerships."

Drummy had been in charge of the U21s (née Reserves) since 2011 -- leading them to a league title this past season -- and the U19s for the last couple years as well, which included a losing trip to the NextGen Series final in 2013 and an impressive if ultimately disappointing campaign this season in the inaugural UEFA Youth League.  Before then, he was in charge of the U18s (winning the FA Youth Cup in 2010) and the U16s.  His sides always looked to entertain, with emphasis on attacking play via quick passing, smart movement, and a high press.

"I've had a great seven years, I'm really happy with what I've done and I've worked with some fantastic staff and young players.  I've also worked with managers like Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, and it's been a brilliant learning curve."

"I hope I can now carry that work on for others. I like working with people and it's something I like to think comes naturally to me. This new role will be a great challenge and I look forward to working and teaching in a new environment."

-Dermot Drummy; source: Chelsea FC

While that's all nice and well, and I'm glad that Drummy is staying with Chelsea, I'm somewhat surprised at this course of action.  I always assumed he would follow the course laid out by his predecessors at Chelsea, like Brendan Rodgers (U18s → Reserves → Watford, Reading, Swansea, Liverpool manager), Paul Clement (Juniors → U16s → U18s → Reserves → Assistant Manager for Carlo Ancelotti at three clubs now), and Steve Holland (Reserves → Assistant Manager at Chelsea and England U21).  Just like Rodgers, for example, Drummy had been given sporadic opportunities to take over first-team training for José, so the decision to assign him to random international locations strikes me as a bit weird.  Hopefully it is something that Dermot's truly excited about and an opportunity that will make proper use of his coaching talents.

The succession behind Drummy takes on a familiar evolution.  Adi Viveash makes the step up from U18 to U21 level, which follows a similar promotion three years ago from the U16s.  Viveash's time with the scholars has been tremendously successful and has included three straight trips to the FA Youth Cup final (winning twice).  Replacing Adi will be one-time Chelsea schoolboy Joe Edwards who had been in charge of the under-16 side for the last few years.  His playing career never quite materialized, but he's been involved in a coaching capacity with the younger age groups in the Chelsea academy since 2004.

Neil Bath remains the Godfather of the Academy.

"In recent months we have discussed the next challenge in Dermot's career development and we were only too pleased for him to make the move at this time and take his career forward."

"In his place, I have the utmost confidence that Adi and Joe will be successful in their new roles, and I look forward to another exciting season for the Academy."

-Neil Bath; source: Chelsea FC