Billy Jones is the new head coach of Maidstone United Football Academy.
The former Leyton Orient, Exeter City and Crewe Alexander defender takes up his role in the new year, overseeing the club’s post-16 education and football programme.
Billy said: “This is an exciting opportunity for me and I can’t wait to get started in January. I’ve played the game professionally, I know what it takes to get there but I am also realistic in that you always need a Plan B and there are so many opportunities that a course like the one at Maidstone can offer.
“There’s a great set-up here and masses of potential too, so I’ll be looking to do whatever I can to enhance the experience for the lads that are on the programme and give them the best platform to progress after they’ve done their two or three years with us.”
The 37-year-old, who takes over from Jim Bodle, will work with the academy coaching team of Brad Brooker, George Elokobi and Jim Stannard.
Stones co-owner Terry Casey said: “I am delighted to welcome Billy to the club and look forward to working with him and our education partner to develop the programme we’ve been running here at the Gallagher Stadium.
“With the coaching and education, combined with our fantastic facilities, this really is a compelling offer for any school-leaver who aspires to a career in football or within the wider sport and leisure industry.”
Maidstone United Academy launched a decade ago and moved to the Gallagher Stadium when it opened in 2012.
In partnership with Cornwallis Academy, the club offer a two-year full time BTEC Sport programme with lessons, matches and training taking place at the home of the Stones.
Recruitment for September 2021 is now underway and students currently in Year 11 are welcome to apply. An open evening and initial trial will take place on the evening of Friday 18 December.
The club are exploring the possibility of launching a girls’ academy next autumn. Girls in Year 11 can register their interest here.