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READ | Skarz returns as Lead Youth Development Phase Coach

6 October 2022

Club News

READ | Skarz returns as Lead Youth Development Phase Coach

6 October 2022

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Rotherham United are delighted to be welcoming Joe Skarz back to the football club, with the former defender taking the role as the Academy’s new Lead Youth Development Phase Coach.

Skarz enjoyed two highly successful years at AESSEAL New York Stadium between 2013 and 2015, helping the Millers to back to back promotions from the basement division up to the Sky Bet Championship and is now back at the club to help with the progress of the club’s future stars.

Since hanging up his boots, Joe had previously worked part-time with the Millers’ Academy before taking up a role in the youth setup at Sheffield United.

In regards to someone who ‘gets’ Rotherham United, he certainly fits the bill and the 33-year-old is looking forward to getting stuck into the challenge.

57 RU v Blackburn 071 Joe Skarz.jpg

“I’m delighted to be back,” Skarz told

“Obviously, it’s in a different capacity now, on the coaching side, and I’m looking forward to passing on the experience and knowledge that I have.

“I’m excited to be able to help with the development of players here, but not only that, to share my experience of coming through an Academy and what it takes to do that. As soon as I saw the role come up, it appealed to me. I know Rotherham United and what the club is about.

“I’ve experienced the key principles, what the supporters want to see from their players and what it takes to play here. I was here for two and a half years and really enjoyed my time here. It is a club that – even when I was still playing elsewhere – I always looked out for results-wise when I’d left.

“I have great memories here, I’m really excited to get going and hopefully it can be the start of a really exciting chapter for both me and the lads. A few years ago I worked for the Academy U13s on a part-time basis, so I know some of the players in the youth team already and the staff involved, too.

“I feel I’ve already got that experience of working with the players already, an experience I really enjoyed. I’ve also been with Sheffield United recently and worked within their Academy, which again helped me improve immensely a coach.

“Now I’m looking forward to coming in, in charge of the phase and get stuck into the challenge.”

57 Leyton Orient v RU 056 Joe Skarz.jpg

It is an incredibly exciting time for Rotherham United Academy, with three players signing professional contracts last summer as well as the likes of Joshua Kayode and Jake Hull continuing to progress on the loan front.

Of course, the person many players look up to when coming through the Academy setup is Ben Wiles, who himself worked himself right up through the club’s system and has since firmly established himself as a first team regular.

With Skarz now in post, he is looking forward to working towards helping the Millers continue what has proven to be a successful production line in recent seasons and he feels he’s someone who understands the Rotherham United ‘DNA’ and what is required to become a success at the club.

“The key thing you need as a young player is to love football, you’ve got to want to come in each day, train hard, work hard and strive to get better.

“Rotherham United have always been renowned for producing hard-working, energetic players, who play on the front foot.

“That is something that I’m of course going to be on the lookout for throughout my phase and hopefully help them progress through the Academy.

“The Ben Wiles’ and Josh Kayode’s of this world show that there is a pathway here right through to the first team if you apply yourself.

“I remember playing against JJ when he was on loan with Gateshead and I could tell how good he was going to be.

“The club has had success in recent years in bringing players right the way through and we want to continue that.

“That is the aim, obviously it won’t happen for everyone, but the important thing is to help those who don’t and improve them not just as footballers, but as people too. It’s a really exciting time to be here.”

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