HE’S well-known locally as coach of Bognor FC and head of football at Chichester College. But Darin Killpartrick is about to spearhead a national team’s bid for glory.
Killpartrick has been named head coach for the England Colleges under-18 squad who will be bidding to win an international tournament in rome next month.
It will see him in charge of a group of up-and-coming footballers who as well as trying to win the tournament will be hoping the experience helps them follow in the footsteps of a number of pros who came to prominence through the college football scene.
Killpartrick coached the under-17 and under-19 England colleges team in 2014 and says he is honoured to be leading the youngsters into action.
The squad have already played an independent schools’ team, who beat them, and will face Wales Colleges in Newport before heading to Rome for the Roma Caput Mundi, in which they’ll face Italy, Romania, Greece, the Welsh again and a local Lazio team.
Those involved will include one of Killpartrick’s Chi College football students, left winger George Cody.
Killpartrick, who is in his 13th year at Chi College and will be supported in the England Colleges Football Association set-up by director Simon East, an assistant coach, a sports analyst and a physio, said: “It’s a huge honour to be coaching a national football squad.
“The 16-19 year age range is where I excel and this is an exciting project. The tournament will be a fantastic experience for the lads.”
A number of players now with pro clubs came up through the national college ranks, including Cardiff’s Anthony Pilkington; Mickey Demetriou, a former Bognor defender now at Cambridge United; Chris Basham of Sheffield United; Lloyd Owusu of Brentford; Liam Feeney of Bolton, Mark Molesey, who has played for Bournemouth, Plymouth and Exeter, and Reading’s Garath McCleary.
Killpartrick praised the Chi College head of sport Rob Giles for allowing him to build the England role into his schedule, and said it was an exciting time for the football unit at the college, which was looking to carry on evolving, with some new ideas due to come to fruition soon.
Chichester is one of only two colleges in the country awarded ‘focus college’ for football coaching.
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