Preston fans may not remember the name Kevin Thelwell, but he’s gone on to make a great career for himself.
Back in the Billy Davies era, the Scot made a move to bring Thelwell to Deepdale. At that time, Thelwell had ended his non-league playing career, and was taking steps into developmental coaching.
Thelwell had started in the Football Assocation of Wales Trust, and completed the FA/UEFA Advanced License at the age of just 25. Thelwell had a huge role in the development of young players in Wales, but moved on to Preston in 2005.
Davies appointed Thelwell as Director of Youth at Deepdale, and North End’s youngsters won the Football League Youth Alliance National Cup in Thelwell’s first season. Alongside Glyn Salmon, Thelwell was seen as an exciting young coach, but his stint at Preston didn’t last as long as hoped.
Davies took Thelwell to Derby County with him in 2006, making him the youngest academy boss in England at the age of just 32. He combined his youth work with being Derby’s first team coach, but left in 2008 to join Wolves.
Thelwell worked as Wolves’ academy boss, and even wrote a coaching book called ‘Coaching the European 3-5-2’, whilst working way up the ranks at Wolves as head of football development and recruitment, and then sporting director in 2016.
Now though, Thelwell has made the biggest move of his career. This week, Wolves have confirmed that Thelwell has left Molineux, and has become the new head of sport at New York Red Bulls.
Thelwell – now 46 – is taking his family to the States, embarking on an unexpected journey in Major League Soccer. Red Bull’s football operations have become famous, with Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig leading the way with recruitment across Europe, and Thelwell will now head up their American operations.
That’s a huge job for Thelwell, whose career really got going at Preston. It’s a shame his time with North End was so brief, but he will surely look back on his time at Deepdale as being a key step in his route to New York.