Millfield School in Somerset has appointed Darren Robinson as Director of Football, starting in September 2020.
Darren joins Millfield with a wealth of experience in Professional Football as a coach and coach developer across senior, academy pathway and grassroots football. Darren also possesses business acumen with the launch of his talent identification and football intelligence start up, iScout, which was created in 2016. Darren takes over the reins at Millfield Football from former South African international Terry Akhurst, who retires after 20 years as Head of Football with the school.
Darren has over 10 years of experience in 1st team coaching and performance management, holding positions such as Head of Performance and Recruitment for Birmingham City FC and Head of Performance for Huddersfield Town, Hull City and Nottingham Forest, and has been involved in three Championship play offs in his career to date. His experience in pathway coaching began as Director of Football at Loughborough University in 1998, leading him to work with U20s at Derby County and helping academy players achieve seven Premier League debuts with the club.
Darren also has experience working across sports, serving as the Lead Sport Psychologist for the Rugby Football League from 2002 to 2006, and he is also a GB age group athlete at Sprint and Ironman Distance.
Football is Millfield’s largest participation sport across both genders. As Director of Football, Darren is hoping to grow independent schools’ contribution to youth development within the football pathway, as well as continuing to cultivate links with professional clubs and the local community. He says, “There are over 70+ players in the Premier League and English Football League from independent schools; the combination of education and focused football training and competition gives an excellent opportunity for young aspiring footballers to focus on both their schooling but also to play football to the highest level they can achieve.”
He also plans to develop students’ personal management skills to create well-rounded young people: “Having worked in various roles of performance management in professional football, I wish to give our students the best opportunity to be equipped to play the highest standard of football they can possibly achieve whilst also ensuring they fulfil their academic potential. I genuinely feel Millfield is one of the best schools in the country to do this. The school’s focus on a dual development approach provides a genuine viable alternative for any young student who has a passion and love for sport and football”
Millfield’s Football programme has a notable reputation as an academy level development pathway, with former students including England and Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings; many alumni now play and coach overseas in Scandinavia, Europe and United States. The Millfield football programme spans almost 15 teams, with individual and team training sessions, athletic development, performance analysis, psychological support, fixtures in cup competitions and friendlies against academies, with a full girls’ programme lead by a full-time coach specifically dedicated to girls' football. The Millfield campus consists of 11 full-sized pitches and three training areas, with players able to work with over 19 coaches and teacher-coaches.
Millfield’s Director of Sport, Dr Scott Drawer, says, “I’m thrilled to have Darren join the Millfield community. He is an expert in the development of not only young people, but education specialists and coaches as well, and I can’t wait to see his experience shared with our students on and off the pitch. As Millfield’s largest participation sport and one of the most popular sports in the world, football is an activity for everyone, and I think Darren’s skills will be key in driving sport and football at Millfield to the next level.”