SUSSEX ACADEMY Meet The Team

Meet The Team

The LPA Sussex Academy team is made up of trained instructors with a passion for football and a natural aptitude for working with kids of all ages and skill levels, from absolute beginners to rising stars.


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Sami Phillips

Hi, I’m Sami Phillips, I’m 19 years old and I’m a goalkeeper-specific coach at Learn Play Achieve. I enjoy every day working at LPA seeing the progression of my goalkeepers at all ages. One thing I love about being a coach at LPA is the technical programme we follow which I think is key to every goalkeeper’s progression to be the best player they can be.

I’m a Level 2 coach and believe Learn Play Achieve is great for any child to be a part of.


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Jacob Baitup

Hi I’m Jacob Baitup, I’m 19 years old and I’m an Academy and Development Coach at Learn Play Achieve. I’ve been working here for a year and half now and I enjoy every single day of it, seeing all the kids progress in various age groups over a number of months is the most beneficial thing about being a football coach. One thing I love about being a coach at LPA is the technical programme we have in place, which I think is the key to putting every player on the right path to becoming the best player possible.

I am currently a Level 1 Coach working towards my Level 2 but being a coach at LPA has helped me become more confident and I feel I have improved as a coach massively since the first day I started. I believe LPA is a great place for any child to be due to the environment and ambition each child has to improve and become the best they can be.


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Svetozar Popov

My name is Svetozar Popov, but you can call me Z. I have been with LPA for 2 years now and have truly enjoyed it. I have my Level 2 badge in football coaching and the Youth Award 2. Now I’m working on my UEFA B badge and the Youth Award 3.

The best part about being a football coach is seeing the development of young players. I love sharing my football experiences with the younger generation and trying to help them become their best. My favorite age group to work with is the U7s and U8s because no matter how bad a session you can have as a coach, they will always say or do something that will make you laugh. I do enjoy working with the older age groups as well, because you can focus a little bit more on the tactical area of the game. LPA is a great place for your child/children, if you want them to develop as individuals and help them reach their potential


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Dale Hurley

I have been coaching football since I was 16. I started working Saturday morning classes and after school clubs whilst at college where I obtained my Level 1 and Level 2 badges in coaching.  I have also passed my Goalkeeping Level 1 badge.

During my time with LPA I have progressed from a part time member of staff to Academy Manager in Sussex. I am in my 6th year with LPA in the 2018/19 season and still get the buzz I did when I first started. Our training programme allows every individual to enhance their technical ability to complement their club training. I personally prefer working with the older age groups as I can deliver more complex content to the individual thus developing their knowledge of the game. On the other hand I do really enjoy the enthusiasm of the younger players, and helping them learn a skill-set that they will use for their sporting lives is very rewarding. I have recently completed my UEFA B License and am looking forward to putting into practice what I have learnt into our College education programme this season.


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Josh Paton

Football has been a part of my life from the time I was 6 years old, my love of football started through supporting my team, Chelsea, before I then went on to play youth football locally with Hassocks juniors, representing Mid Sussex schools at U11’s, college Football at BHASVIC and still playing now at local men’s football.

I have been involved in coaching youth football for over 6 years and currently hold my FA Level 2 Coaching badge, Safeguarding Children, FA First Aid and CRC check. Coaching these young men is one of the most rewarding things that I do. It is a great honour and responsibility that I do not take for granted. I truly believe and know that the lessons football taught me have helped me to succeed in other areas of my life and I want our players to learn these same lessons through the great game of football.


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Joel Lamping

Hello I am Joel Lamping, 20 years of age, and I began coaching at the age of 16. The reason I started coaching was because it was always something which interested me back when I was playing, hoping that I can coach a group one day and show them what kind of skills and techniques I learned when I was younger. I also feel it helps me understand the game more, which encourages me to have more of a positive effect on each player and their development.

I currently have my Level 2 Coaching Qualification, Level 2 Goalkeeper Coaching Qualification & Youth Module 2. The aspect I enjoy most about coaching is engaging with different age categories, supporting them in a variety of ways and overall watching them develop every single day.


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DJ Hamilton

Hi, my name is DJ and I am one of the senior coaches at LPA Academy.  I became a coach after my dad encouraged me as a player to do the coaching badges to help with my technical and tactical knowledge of the game.  Now, I am proud to say, I will be completing my A License in the coming months – so, Thanks, Dad!

For me, helping individuals to develop and grow, both as players as well as individuals is a great honour.  There is nothing better than seeing someone express themself in an area they love.  That area for us is football.  So, rest assured, you, and more importantly, your children are in safe hands.  See you on the training ground.