Following a tough season withstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, London City Lionesses Development team have made outstanding developments to go into a highly anticipated upcoming season with an exciting new coaching staff.
The Pride are delighted to announce the Development team’s new head coach, Luke Thomas-Arayo, who will be assisted by Glenn Shimmins and Matthew Lazarus.
Arayo leads the Development squad, coming with considerable experience from former clubs West Ham United Women Youth Academy, Charlton Athletic RTC & CK Basildon.
In addition to managing London City Lionesses development team, Arayo also works full time at Barking Abbey Girls Football Academy. He is currently also working towards his UEFA A license award in coaching.
On joining London City Lionesses, Arayo said, “I'm thankful to the club for this opportunity. I'm excited to get started on this new project & see it grow. I'm looking forward to the season ahead & creating a competitive environment where players will become better people & challenge themselves to develop into a better player.”
On the appointment of Arayo as Development team head coach, General Manager Edward Gallagher said, "I'm delighted to welcome Luke to London City Lionesses. He brings an extensive range of experiences at RTC and women's development team level and will be important in our plan to grow our own talent at the Club."
Arayo will be joined on the sidelines with great support from Glenn Shimmins, who has been working in the women’s game for more than 15 years.
Shimmins (pictured left) comes with a competitive edge, as he is passionate about improving players and building successful teams. He has created his own grassroots women’s club and comes with a UEFA B coaching qualification, working towards his A license.
Equally, Matthew Lazarus joins the Development team coaching staff and helps to add both depth and support to the club.
Lazarus (pictured right) joins the Pride following coaching experience at a grassroots level with Hampstead F.C., whilst also currently coaching for Chelsea F.C. Foundation. He also leads a Football Development Centre for girls aged 10-14 with the aim of developing the players through to the academy.
Lazarus currently holds his FA Level 2 coaching qualification, as well as a PFSA scouting level 2 and Futsal level 1 qualification.
On the addition of Shimmins and Lazarus to the Development team staff, Gallagher said, “Whilst we were privileged to have an uninterrupted season with our first team this year, our development side weren’t as lucky and Glenn and Matt played a massive part in ensuring our development team stayed motivated and thought outside the box to deliver sessions remotely.
“Both bring a wealth of experience within the women’s game at various levels and are both strong enough to lead a programme in their own right.”
London City Lionesses have made headway over the past year by generating a major focus on the development of young local talent, which thus creates a pathway for young girls to achieve involvement within a first-team setup.
In addition to the newly refurbished development team setup, London City Lionesses will also be running an Under-18 team that will compete in the Junior Premier League (JPL). The U18 helps to complete the link to the Player Development Programme, which operates at U12, U14, & U16.
Commenting on the growth of the Development Team and Academy Programme setup, General Manager Edward Gallagher said, “I’m excited by the plans for our Player Development Programme running from U12 to U18 and our Development Team next season and I know that we aren’t too far away from the academy debuts in the FA Women’s Championship.
“Melissa and the technical team are supportive of young talented players and those who shine within our academy programmes will get opportunities.”
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