TGG Live: Elite speakers & sponsors for industry-leading conference!

ON October 9th and 10th, Training Ground Guru is holding its biggest and best ever event, with its biggest and best ever line-up of speakers!

Across two days, leading figures from football, sport and beyond will take to the stage at the Hilton Deansgate in the iconic Beetham Tower to share their insights, knowledge and ideas at TGG Live.

There are six strands across the two days:

  • Day One (October 9th): Recruitment, Analytics, Sporting Directors.
  • Day Two (October 10th): Coaching, Academies, Performance.
  • Here are our elite speakers:
  • DAY ONE:

    • Phil Giles: Brentford Director of Football.
    • Dan Ashworth: Newcastle United Technical Director.
    • Dave Reddin MBE: CD Castellón Chief Football Officer.
    • David Sumpter: Twelve Football co-founder.
    • Nick Roberts: Red Bull Racing Senior Race Strategy Analyst.
    • Gary Probert: Ipswich Town Director of Football Operations.
    • Lee Mooney: MUD Analytics Managing Director.
    • Andrew Trimble: Kairos Chief Executive Officer.
    • Stuart Webber: Norwich City Sporting Director.
    • Mladen Sormaz: 777 Partners Director of Football Analytics.
    • Ben Smith: BreakAway Data Head of International Business.
    • Mariela Nisotaki: Norwich City Head of Emerging Talent.
    • Jonny Whitmore: Stats Perform Data Analysis Manager.
    • Chris Markham: Bolton Wanderers Sporting Director.
    • Nick Sheppard: Sheffield United Head of Academy Operations.
    • Matt Bennett: Aston Villa First Team Operations Manager.

    DAY TWO:

    • Kris Van Der Haegen: Belgium Director of Coach Education.
    • Per Mertesacker: Arsenal Academy Manager.
    • Nick Cox: Manchester United Academy Director.
    • Jonathan Hunter-Barrett: Wolves Academy Manager.
    • Dan Micciche: Everton Player Development Lead Coach.
    • Daniel Simpson: Football Association Game Insights Analyst.
    • Kelsey Byrne: Football Association Women's National Coach Developer.
    • Sally Needham: Sheffield United Human Development and Performance Culture Lead.
    • Jes Buster Madsen: FC Copenhagen Head of Research and Development.
    • Charlotte Healy: Assistant Coach of Manchester United Women.
    • Chris Domogalla: Leeds United Head of Performance.
    • Tony Strudwick: West Brom Director of Medical.
    • Dave Carolan: Millwall Head of Performance.
    • Tom Little: Sheffield United Head of Performance.
    • Andrew Wilson: Leeds Beckett University/ Southampton Learning Lab.
    • Ben Greenhough: Rezzil Head of Sports Research.

    We are also proud to partner with some of the most innovative companies operating in football for this event. TGG Live is about sharing ideas and learnings across departments and organisations, which is why Kairos, the communications and operations experts, represent the perfect Headline Sponsor.

    Their CEO Andrew Trimble, the former Ireland rugby union international, who will be speaking at TGG Live, said: "We have had the pleasure of working with Training Ground Guru right from the early days of Kairos and many of our current customers learned about us through their articles and events.

    "It was a no-brainer for us to headline sponsor such a brilliant event which, as you can see, is attracting the sharpest and most forward-thinking minds in football."

    We are also delighted to announce our other sponsors for the event: Veo, Skill Corner, Rezzil, Footovision, Stats Perform, BreakAway Data, Collinson Construction, Touchline Analytics, Hudl and Omnisports - you can read more about them lower down the page.

    Here are bios of our speakers and sponsors:


    Phil Giles is Director of Football at Brentford, one of the most innovative clubs in European football. He joined the Bees in May 2015 and helped them gain promotion to the Premier League for the first time in 2021. They are now an established top flight side. Phil was our guest on Episode #35 of the TGG Podcast.

    Dan Ashworth is Technical Director at Newcastle United and one of this country's most respected football leaders. He was Technical Director at West Brom, the Football Association and then Brighton before joining the Magpies in June 2022. He is now helping to implement a vision to help the club achieve long-term success. Dan was our guest on Episode #20 of the TGG Podcast.

    Dave Reddin MBE is Chief Football Officer at CD Castellón in Spain and is taking a "disruptive approach to improvement". They are currently in the third tier and aim to be in La Liga within five years. Dave was previously Head of Strategy and Performance with the Football Association, Head of Performance for the British Olympic Association at London 2012 and fitness coach for England when they won the 2003 Rugby World Cup. He was our guest on Episode #4 of the TGG Podcast.

    David Sumpter is a Professor at the University of Uppsala in Sweden and co-founder of the Twelve Football data science consultancy. He works with leading clubs in England, Holland, Germany, Spain and Sweden. David has authored a number of books and given Google, TedX and Royal Institution talks. He was our guest on Episode #46 of the TGG Podcast.

    Nick Roberts is Senior Race Strategy Analyst for Red Bull Racing. He is responsible for understanding performance expectations both before and during an F1 race weekend, delivering competitor analysis and leading a working group between strategy, vehicle performance and aerodynamics. Nick has worked for Red Bull Racing since 2016 and has a PhD in Geophysics.

    Gary Probert has been the Director of Football Operations at Ipswich Town since November 2021, overseeing recruitment, loans, Academy and Women & Girls programmes. Prior to this, he worked for Bristol City for more than eight years, the majority of which was as Academy Manager during a successful period of developing homegrown players for the club. At Ipswich, he played a key role in the club’s promotion from League One last season and they are now flying high in the Championship.

    Lee Mooney is Managing Director of MUD Analytics, a company he co-founded with Vincent Kompany and Klaas Gaublomme. He was previously Director of Football Insights at City Football Group, where he led the creation and evolution of the group’s data science capabilities. His background prior to football was in industry, with Barclays and Deloitte.

    Stuart Webber is the Sporting Director of Norwich City. He has overseen two promotions to the Premier League in his time at the club and a rebuilding of their training ground, Academy and staffing. Prior to working with the Canaries he was Head of Football Operations at Huddersfield Town. Stuart was our guest on Episode #48 of the TGG Podcast.

    Andrew Trimble had a distinguished rugby union career, playing 229 times for Ulster and winning 70 caps for Ireland. He was frustrated by scheduling and communication issues as a player and decided to do something about it once he retired. The result is the Kairos app, which streamlines all communications and operations across elite sports teams. Andrew spoke to TGG about Kairos in 2020 and we have maintained a strong partnership ever since.

    Mariela Nisotaki is Head of Emerging Talent at Norwich City and a pioneer for women in football, being one of the only female scouts in the European game. Mariela joined the Canaries in June 2017 and has also worked for Swansea City and Atromitos in her homeland of Greece. Mariela was our guest on Episode #34 of the TGG Podcast.

    Mladen Sormaz is Director of Football Analytics for 777 Partners, which own clubs including Genoa, Standard Liege and Vasco de Gama. He was previously the first Head of Analytics at Leicester City and is a thought leader on the application of data science in football.

    Ben Smith is Head of International Business for BreakAway Data, helping the best athletes in the world own, control and use their data. Prior to this he worked for Chelsea for 16 years, latterly as their Head of Research and Innovation.

    Jonny Whitmore is Data Analysis Manager at Stats Perform. The company work with 500 teams around the world to inform and enhance decision-making. Jonny delivered a superb presentation at TGG's 2022 Big Data Webinar - Quantifying Player Decision-Making With Predictive Data.

    Chris Markham is Sporting Director at Bolton Wanderers. His role involves establishing an elite and innovative performance culture for the football department at the League One club. Previously, Chris was Game Insights Lead for the Football Association, with responsibility for projects, opposition intelligence and player data profiling.

    Matt Bennett is First Team Operations Manager at Aston Villa. He has worked for the Villains since October 2019. Prior to this Matt was in charge of Team Operations and Player Liaison at Minnesota FC in the United States and he has also worked at Hull City.

    Nick Sheppard is Head of Academy Operations at Sheffield United, a position he has held since August 2019. Prior to this he worked for Peterborough United for more than 10 years, starting off as their Community Manager and ultimately becoming Academy Manager.

    DAY TWO (OCTOBER 10th)

    Nick Cox is Academy Director at Manchester United and one of the most experienced youth football leaders in the country. Prior to joining United, in May 2016, he was Academy Manager at Sheffield United for three-and-a-half years and at Watford for 12 years. Nick was our guest on Episode #15 of the TGG Podcast.

    Per Mertesacker became Arsenal’s Academy Manager in 2018 after a 15-year playing career. Per won the World Cup with Germany in 2014 to crown a 10-year international career in which he played for his country 104 times. The centre-back made 393 club appearances with Hannover 96, Werder Bremen and Arsenal, leading the Gunners to three FA Cup victories. As Arsenal’s Academy Manager, he develops a clear vision to create Strong Young Gunners.

    Kris Van Der Haegen has been Belgium's Director of Coach Education for more than a decade and assistant of their women's senior team for five years. Kris has been at the heart of a revolution in the way Belgium coaches its youngsters and educates its coaches. This child-centred approach has inspired many other countries, including Germany.

    Jonathan Hunter-Barrett is Academy Manager at Category One side Wolves. He joined the club as a foundation phase coach in 2011 and went on to become Head of Coaching and then, in June 2022, Academy Manager. Jonathan is an A Licence coach and also has a Masters in Sporting Directorship.

    Sally Needham is Human Development and Performance Culture Lead at Sheffield United Academy. Before joining the Blades full-time in April 2022, Sally worked for the Football Association for more than 15 years as a coach developer and skills programme leader. Sally was our guest on Episode #44 of the TGG Podcast, giving us the lowdown on her unique role with the Blades.

    Tony Strudwick is Director of Medical at West Brom and one of the most respected performance practitioners in British football. He was Head of Performance at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, during which time they won four Premier League titles and the Champions League. Tony has also worked for Arsenal, Wales, Sheffield Wednesday, England and West Ham and was our guest on Episode #13 of the TGG Podcast.

    Dan Micciche is Player Development Lead Coach at Everton, responsible for aiding the transition of their players from Academy to first team. He is an experienced and innovative coach, having previously worked for Arsenal, MK Dons, England and Tottenham - at both youth and senior levels.

    Daniel Simpson is Game Insights Analyst for the Football Association. His passion is enhancing understanding of the technical and tactical requirements needed to become elite. Before joining the FA, Dan worked for Wolves, West Brom and the Northern Ireland national team.

    Kelsey Byrne is Women's National Coach Developer for the Football Association. Kelsey works across the women's professional game to support coaches on formal qualifications (A Licence) as well as supporting coaches on their continuing journey of development.

    Jes Buster Madsen is Head of Research and Development at FC Copenhagen in Denmark. His specialism is integrating cognitive neuroscience with player development, training methodology and talent identification.

    Charlotte Healy is assistant coach of Manchester United Women. She was previously the club's Academy Manager and Under-21s boss and has also worked for Manchester City, Liverpool and the Football Association.

    Chris Domogalla is the fitness coach at Leeds United. He has previously worked with manager Daniel Farke at Borussia Monchengladbach, Krasnodar and Norwich City.

    With nearly 30 years' experience in professional sport, Dave Carolan has seen performance support grow exponentially. Dave is currently Head of Performance at Millwall and has also held senior roles at Stoke City, Derby County, Birmingham City, Colchester United and Norwich City. He was also Head of EMEA for EDGE10.

    Tom Little is Head of Performance at Sheffield United. He has more than two decades' experience in football, having also been Head of Performance at clubs including Sheffield Wednesday, Burnley, Huddersfield, Birmingham and Preston. As well as this, Tom is founder of Colour-Fit Ltd (now heroPro) - a nutrition and fitness resource that is revolutionising our approach to food.

    Andrew Wilson is a Reader at Leeds Beckett University and an internationally recognised expert in perception, action and embodied cognition. Andrew is one of the founders of Southampton's Learning Lab and appeared on Episode #39 of the Training Ground Guru Podcast.

    Ben Greenhough is Head of Sports Research at Rezzil, the world’s leading VR/XR platform for developing elite athletes. He was previously a Sport Scientist at Hull City.


    Kairos are the HEADLINE SPONSOR of TGG Live. Kairos is purpose built to streamline all communication and operations across elite sports teams. The app unifies daily operations processes, improves collaboration and enhances player welfare. Designed specifically for football operations, the app is used by elite teams and Academies around the globe. You can read about the work Kairos have done with the Scotland national team HERE.

    Veo is the ultimate camera for team sports. You can record and live-stream your matches automatically and take your game up a level. We wrote about the work that Veo do with Ipswich Town's Academy HERE.

    SkillCorner is the leader in single-camera video tracking for sport.
    We leverage AI technologies to provide rich and accurate player tracking data at scale, enabling teams to efficiently identify and benchmark players from all over the world. By adding SkillCorner data to their toolkit, our customers can make faster, better-informed decisions in recruitment, player development and strategy.

    Rezzil is the world’s leading VR/XR platform for developing elite athletes. Using drills designed and tested by the world’s best players, Rezzil improves cognition, decision making and overall resilience for players at all levels of sport. Rezzil’s football services are shown to identify a player’s strengths and areas to improve, with scores on a wide range of areas so you can quickly see how to step up to the next level.

    Using a blend of technologies including computer vision, AI and data analysis, Footovision have developed state-of-the-art analysis solutions. Their Coachvision platform and API are designed specifically for professional football clubs and federations, providing coaches, scouts, sport science and performance analysts with unique player and team level insights.

    BreakAway Data help the best athletes in the world own, control and use their athlete data. BreakAway have built a global community of athletes across the NFL, NBA, WNBA, English Premier League, NWSL, MLB, MLS, ATP, PGA and beyond to connect with all of those hopeful athletes coming behind them.

    Stats Perform work with 500 teams around the world to inform and enhance decision-making across performance analysis, player recruitment and long-term strategic planning through the application of cutting-edge data, analytics, and AI technology and software.

    Bespoke, organised and accessible data can allow sports organisations to make better informed decisions and improve workflow efficiency. By combining knowledge of both data architecture and sports data strategy, Touchline Analytics have a mission of facilitating this for multiple sports at all levels, empowering organisations to answer key performance questions.

    Collinson specialise in the construction of covered/ indoor full size football pitches for clubs/ Academies, with 20 years' experience creating indoor training facilities throughout the UK and beyond.

    More than 200K teams across the world use Hudl to combine video and data into powerful insights and winning strategies. Hudl are a long-standing partner of TGG and sponsor our popular podcast.

    OmniSports is a leading Manchester-based football agency which operates in all the major worldwide markets. OmniSports creates a bespoke strategy to maximise the success of its clients. The industry leader has a proactive approach to ensure its players enjoy the very best service in every aspect of their careers.

    * Programme subject to change

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