We are delighted to confirm that Ryan Simmonds has been appointed as our new Professional Development Phase Coach.
He started his career at Aston Villa, where he completed a two-year scholarship and captained the team in the FA Youth Cup final against Chelsea, unfortunately losing on the night at Stamford Bridge.
Simmonds then signed for then League One club Brighton & Hove Albion under Gus Poyet and Luke Williams where he was part of the successful League One winning squad in 2010/2011.
He enjoyed a couple more seasons at the Brighton, including a number of loan spells away. After leaving Brighton, Simmonds then played in non-league for a season, before starting his coaching journey.
Simmonds also set up a business and started coaching grassroots children, delivering half term camps.
He then undertook his UEFA B license and joined Kidderminster Harriers, initially as Under 19s coach.
Eight months later, he was appointed as assistant manager of the first team under Neil Macfarlane.
He then gained his UEFA A License and joined Coventry City as Under 15s Lead and Under 16s Assistant.
In December 2021, he was approached to take a full-time role as Lead Phase Coach at Milton Keynes Dons.
He is now excited about his new challenge with the Saddlers.
“I am looking forward to helping the young lads here on their journey and hopefully with the experiences I have gone through as a player, I can guide them and set them on their own journey of being a professional footballer, this is a wonderful family club and I can't wait to get started,” Simmonds said.
Academy Manager Rob Williams added: "I’m really excited by the appointment and look forward to Ryan joining us.
"He has a good level of both playing and coaching experience that I'm sure will benefit our Under 15s-Under 18s players.”