ABU DHABI: UAE champions Al-Jazira have announced the appointment of former Liverpool technical director, James Gow, as the new head of its academy in Abu Dhabi.
The country’s capital represents the latest stop in Gow’s career following stints in England, Australia, China, and Singapore, and he arrives following 12 successful years in various roles with Liverpool FC where he was most recently the club’s international academy technical director in Australia, managing and developing more than 30 coaches while also initiating sports science and performance analysis departments.
Gow said: “I am very happy to arrive at the home of the UAE champions. Al-Jazira is renowned across the region for its academy, and it is truly a great honor to lead it going forward.
“I found Al-Jazira to be the most suitable step in my career as I was attracted by the strong foundations put in place by the club’s leadership and the ambitious long-term vision and plans to cement itself as a leading example.
“I am excited about the future, and I am confident that my experience will help to develop the academy’s functions across all fronts. The UAE is home to many great talents, and it is great to see many of them are graduates of Al-Jazira’s academy. We look to build on this great success going forward.
“As a team, we have a big task ahead and a great responsibility to fulfill and I look forward to getting straight to work,” he added.
The Englishman began his career at Liverpool in 2008 as a young coach involved in the club’s community department, working on inclusion initiatives for children and adults with disabilities and with youth in underprivileged areas.
He then took a role as a performance analyst intern in 2011 while studying at university, servicing both the club’s academy and the first team and working with some of the world’s biggest football stars on introducing an individual player-focused development system.
Gow also successfully led a long-term player development program during his time as head of coaching at Liverpool FC’s International Football Academy in Guilin, China between 2014 and 2015.
His appointment comes as part of Al-Jazira’s long-term mission to develop young talent from its academy, which last season proved a big success as 17 academy graduates featured in the 2020-21 Arabian Gulf League title-winning squad.
Al-Jazira chief executive officer, Ali Youssef Al-Hammadi, said: “We are very happy to welcome James as the new leader of Al-Jazira’s academy. The appointment of an internationally experienced academy technical director is a clear testament to the importance we place on continually growing our football academy.
“Thanks to our leadership’s guidance and great trust in our home-grown talent, we take massive pride in being home to one of the Middle East’s best academies.
“Driven by our investment across all age groups, we have a very strong structure in place to build on the great title-winning success of last season in the upcoming years.
“While Al-Jazira’s academy functions with an eye on the future of the first team, our long-term plan focuses on developing young talent on both the sporting and personal fronts to represent the club on the biggest global stages,” he added.
Since its launch in 2004, Al-Jazira’s academy has consistently graduated players into the club’s senior squad while also producing several UAE international stars. Over the last three seasons alone, it has advanced 17 players into the first-team squad, with six regularly starting for the club last season.
Of the players representing the UAE national team across the youth age groups all the way to U-23, at least 24 players graduated from Al-Jazira’s academy, with another seven in the senior national team.
The club’s sporting director, Mads Davidsen, said: “Following a rigorous recruitment process, it brings me great pleasure to welcome James to the ever-growing Al-Jazira family.
“We are building an environment which possesses a diversity of cultures and a high level of experiences from across the world, and James’ proven global track record leading academies for some of the biggest clubs and organizations matches our ambition to do just that.”
Al-Jazira will be hoping to replicate last season’s success and will embark on their quest to defend their title in the 2021-22 season starting in August and will take part in the 2022 AFC Champions League.