Hesford leaves FA to become Man City's first Head of Talent Science
Written by Simon Austin — January 12, 2022
CATHERINE HESFORD has left the Football Association after five-and-a-half years to become Manchester City’s first Head of Talent Science.
Hesford was previously Player Insights National Lead at the FA, a role that involved benchmarking and evaluating players using objective measures with data, video and analysis.
For most of her time at the FA she worked under Head of Performance Insights Kate Baker, who left to become Director of Performance at UK Sport last February.
Baker's role was not replaced, with Steve Morrow instead coming into the new position of Head of Player Selection and Talent Strategy in May 2021, with Mark Carter becoming Women's Player Insights National Lead two months later.
City did not advertise the Head of Talent Science role, nor conduct a formal recruitment process, with Hesford instead headhunted for the position. She is regarded as a leader in her field and worked for the English Institute of Sport before joining the FA in September 2016.
Hesford's abilities will have been well known to Simon Timson, the former Director of Performance for UK Sport and the LTA who joined City in July 2020 and who will be her line manager.
Timson gave an interesting interview to UAE-based The National last September in which he discussed the focus of his Performance Director job at City.
“Where are we trying to get to? What's the plan for getting there? What are the processes and systems we need to put in place? Those are the important questions," he said.
“What’s the structure and how do we nurture and grow that over the long term so we have sustainable success? I simply help really good, bright leaders and coaches at City to build those systems."
Meanwhile, City are in the process of hiring a Head of Academy Performance after Mark Bitcon was appointed Head of Athletic Performance and Innovation at the RFU in November.