Former EFL youth chief Wetherall joins Huddersfield as Academy Advisor

David Wetherall (left) with Huddersfield Academy Manager Jon Worthington

David Wetherall (left) with Huddersfield Academy Manager Jon Worthington

DAVID WETHERALL has joined Huddersfield Town as Strategic Advisor to their Academy after leaving his role as Director of Youth Development at the EFL after 12 years.

The former Leeds United defender joined the EFL in July 2011 after two years as Bradford City's Academy Manager. He has been replaced at the EFL by former Derby County Academy Director Darren Wassall (more on that below).

Huddersfield have brought 52-year-old Wetherall on board in as they bid to go back to Category Three Academy status. The Terriers, who have applied to the EFL to return to Category Three, downgraded their youth set-up from Category Two to Four in September 2017, meaning they now only run sides at Under-17 and U19 levels.

However, new owner Kevin Nagle announced his intention to reverse that decision and run younger sides after taking over in June. He said: “It's critical to develop your own players, especially after Brexit.”

Speaking about Wetherall's appointment, Chief Executive Jake Edwards said: “David is ideally placed to guide us through this process, having spent over a decade on the other side of this process at the EFL up until last month.

“He knows the rules, regulations and requirements that clubs need to fulfil to be a category three Academy inside out. Clearly a lot of work will go into the upgrade and David will provide vital specialist resource in this area. He is already working in lockstep with Jon Worthington, which has been made very easy again through their strong pre-existing relationship. His arrival will allow our Academy staff to focus on their vital day-to-day work in developing our talented young players.

“From his first day at the club our owner, Kevin Nagle, has made our Academy one of the club’s key strategic pillars, both immediately and as a fulcrum of our medium and long-term plan for success. We both see investment in the Academy as being absolutely critical for the future of the club and its community, and David’s appointment is just the first step in that commitment.

“Our official application to move to Category Three has now been lodged with the football governing bodies. As we embark upon the next steps of the process, we will endeavour to keep our supporters right up to date.”

Huddersfield’s Academy Manager is Jon Worthington. He was B Team manager from January 2021 and also took on the role of Academy Manager at the end of 2022. Mark Cartwright came in at the start of July as Sporting Director.


Wassall, 55, was Derby County's Academy Director for 14 years before leaving in May this year following a club restructure.

After being appointed as the EFL's new Director of Youth Development, he said: “All the experiences I’ve had at Derby will stand me in good stead for this role. It’s about trying to help the rest of the 72 EFL Academy Managers and Clubs to continue their brilliant work and to keep improving standards for the next generation of players.

“It is an exciting role and after only leaving Derby in May, it was almost perfect timing for this new challenge. Dave has done an unbelievable job over the last 12 years in leading the Youth Development department at the EFL,” he says. “I hope to continue the commitment and hard work that he put into the role.”

“I’ve had a wide variety of playing experiences. I’ve played with and been managed by some unbelievable players and managers over the years and gained great experience in terms of knowing what is required at the top level to become a professional footballer.

“All those experiences both good and bad, have been invaluable in my role as a youth developer, in helping the next generation of players maximise their potential. I loved my playing career and as soon as I finished, I went into coaching, and I’ve done that ever since.

“I’ve been in youth football for nearly 25 years. My whole professional coaching and management career has been dedicated to youth development. I am passionate about working with young players and young people, creating opportunities for them in football and in life. I have always maintained as a young person; all you can ask for is an opportunity. It is our job to make that happen.

"When I left in May due to the club wanting to re-structure and go in a different direction, we had just gained another licence for Category One status for the next three seasons, for the fourth successive time. I’m proud of everything that we achieved at Derby. I was fortunate enough to have great staff within the Academy, who all massively contributed to its success.

“The EFL Clubs are doing a great job in creating pathways for young players in Academies to go through into the first team. I want to keep encouraging that and making sure that we keep improving that tally year-on-year.

"We also need to make sure that every young person in our care, is better for the experience of being in our Academies, both as a player and a person. We’re always looking for improvement.

"We’ll be working together with all the Academies to make sure that every Academy under our banner is successful and highly thought of. I am working with a lot of talented people in the game from EFL to Premier League. We are in a healthy state, and we want to maintain that and keep improving that as we go along.”

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