Brentford FC have announced that Lydia Bedford will take on the role of under-18 head coach ahead of the 2023/24 season.
She will work alongside Jon-Paul Pittman, who will join as assistant coach from Forest Green Rovers after working within the under-18 set up at the Gloucestershire club.
Lydia will move to West London from Arsenal FC Women, where she held the role of assistant coach, as the Gunners challenged towards the top end of the Women’s Super League. The side also reached the semifinals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League where they faced VfL Wolfsburg.
Jon-Paul had a senior career which involved playing for clubs such as Crawley Town, Wycombe Wanderers and Oxford United before he moved into coaching. He then spent time working within the youth set up at Exeter City before joining Forest Green in early 2022.
Lydia will now take charge of Brentford FC’s under-18 side, who compete in the South East Youth Alliance League. Her arrival will also coincide with the clubs under-18s formally moving on site to train full-time at the Robert Rowan Performance Centre from the 2023/24 season as they also compete in Youth Alliance Cup and the FA Youth Cup.
Lydia has previously built experience working at the FA with the England Women’s youth sides. Following that she took on the role of first team manager of Leicester City’s Women’s team late in 2021 as she guided the side to safety in the 2021/22 season. After departing the Foxes, Lydia then moved to Arsenal early this year as they finished third in the WSL.
Discussing Lydia’s appointment as head coach of the clubs under-18 side, as well as the addition of Jon-Paul, Brentford FC director of football Phil Giles said: “I’m really pleased that we’ve managed to attract such talented coaches as Lydia and Jon-Paul to our under-18 team for next year. It’s an important time for the under-18 team as next season will be the first where they’ve operated out of the Robert Rowan Performance Centre and integrating them smoothly alongside the first team and B team will be essential.”
“We undertook an extensive recruitment process for these roles. Lydia and Jon-Paul were the two best candidates, and thankfully we were able to finalise their recruitment to the staff. I’m sure they will excel, and we all look forward to working with them through pre-season and beyond.”