David Longwell, St Mirren’s Head of Youth Development, is set to leave the Club at the end of March to take up a new post as Academy Director with Major League Soccer side Orlando City.
David came to the Club fifteen years ago initially as a Community Coach going on to work his way up to the Academy overseeing the Club’s Youth Development Programme.
As Head of Youth Development, David has helped to progress several youngsters from the St Mirren Academy – present first team squad players Jason Naismith, Sean Kelly, Stephen Mallan, Jack Baird, Lewis Morgan, Lewis McLear and Barry Cuddihy all having graduated from the Academy under David’s guidance. Kenny McLean and John McGinn, now with Aberdeen and Hibernian respectively, were also products of the St Mirren Youth Academy. The next crop is now on its way as youngsters such as Jordan Stewart and Kyle McAllister find themselves on the fringe of the first team squad.
Very often David is the first person in every morning and the last person out at night as he covers all aspects of the Youth Academy at Ralston which last week was awarded Club Academy Scotland’s Gold Level Award for the third year in a row.
David said: “It is with a heavy heart that I announce that I will be leaving St Mirren Football Club. I would like to thank all our staff, players and fans and everyone associated with St Mirren FC for the support and help I have been given during my time at the club.
“An opportunity has arisen that I feel I couldn’t refuse and after much deliberation I have decided to accept the role of Academy Director with Orlando City.
“I would like to thank the St Mirren FC board for their support in allowing me to take up this position, and also for giving me the opportunity to oversee and evolve a wonderful Youth Development programme at St Mirren over the years.
“St Mirren will always remain a big part of me as it has been my life for the past fifteen years. I wish the Academy and Club every success for the future and feel it is in good hands going forward.”
St Mirren Chairman, Stewart Gilmour said:, “We understand that this is an opportunity David cannot leave alone. He has been a fantastic Head of Youth and totally deserves this chance.
“Everybody connected with St Mirren knows of the commitment David has given the Club and the thankless hours he has worked, I certainly thank him for his dedication to the Club and wish him every success in his future career.”
New St Mirren CEO Tony Fitzpatrick said: “I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve known David a long time as we had coached together before he joined St Mirren.
“You just have to look at the players he has produced in his time at St Mirren. He has done an incredible job as he has kids playing proper football while also instilling great values and morals in them. He has also taken the Academy to great levels having earned Club Academy Scotland’s Gold Level which many other clubs haven’t achieved.
“It is hard to put into words the work David has done at the Club, look at the players he has brought through like John McGinn, Kenny McLean and young Stephen Mallan who is with us at present. Ultimately in Youth Development you are judged on who you produce for the first team and the job David has done here at St Mirren has been phenomenal.
“I know that moving on for David will be tough for him too as the Academy has been his baby as he has nurtured it, and on a personal note I would love to have worked with him again as him being here was one of the things I was really looking forward to in taking up my new post at St Mirren.
“There is no doubt David will be a massive loss to the Club, but he has set things up here fantastically for somebody else to progress it further forward. It goes without saying that I really wish David all the best.”