Aspire 2021/22: Coaches and camp directors confirmed for talent programme reset

The Aspire Programme returns this month with the first round of a busy schedule of activity for the nation’s talented 11-15-year-olds. 

Utilising a new super-region structure, there will be camp-based coaching throughout the year, starting in October half-term and culminating in an All-Star Tournament. 

The objective is to provide quality coaching for 2007-2011-born players, reinforcing Basketball England’s Player Development Framework and the Aspire curriculum. 

Players have been nominated by clubs with sessions intended to help develop potential England and Great Britain players. 

Emphasis will be placed on teaching the principles of basketball and reinforcing the skills necessary to develop better players. There will also be education sessions covering topics including hydration, nutrition, sleep and injury prevention. 

A new workforce of camp directors and head coaches has been appointed. 

Aspire workforce 

East 
  • Boys Head Coach: Phil Russell 
  • Boys Assistant: Damian Mlynarczyk 
  • Boys Assistant: Michael Martin 
  • Girls Head Coach: Claire Harper 
  • Girls Assistant: Ibrahim Gariba 
  • Girls Assistant: Catherine Sadler 
  • Girls Assistant: Lauren Milligan 
  • Girls Assistant: Sue Gilmour 
  • Camp Director: James Long 
East Midlands 
  • Boys Head Coach: Dan Watts 
  • Boys Assistant: Scott Burchnall 
  • Boys Assistant: tbc  
  • Girls Head Coach: tbc  
  • Girls Assistant: tbc  
  • Girls Assistant: Austin Grant 
  • Camp Director: Becky O'Neill 
London Hub 1  
  • Head Coach: Lucio Semedo  
  • Assistant Coach: William Twigg  
  • Assistant Coach: Antony Distras  
  • Assistant Coach: Damien Plummer  
  • Assistant Coach: Aurimas Sakalauskas  
  • Camp Director: Patricia Fairclough OBE 
  • Volunteer Coach: Charles Vuong  
London Hub 2 
  • Head Coach: Roberto Fois  
  • Assistant Coach: Alex Ducasse  
  • Assistant Coach: Noah Godwin  
  • Assistant Coach: Burak Haciismail  
  • Assistant Coach: Mauro Di Nunzio  
  • Camp Director: Patricia Fairclough OBE 
  • Volunteer Coach: Doreen St Marthe 
North East 
  • Boys Head Coach: Chris Bunten 
  • Boys Assistant: Anthony Reed 
  • Boys Assistant: tbc  
  • Girls Head Coach: Corinne Vaughan 
  • Girls Assistant: tbc  
  • Girls Assistant: tbc  
  • Camp Director: Howard Leighton 
North West 
  • Boys Head Coach: tbc  
  • Boys Assistant: Stephen O'Donnell 
  • Boys Assistant: Robert Park 
  • Boys Assistant: Matthew Allerston 
  • Girls Head Coach: Rheanne Bailey 
  • Girls Assistant: Natalie Feurtado 
  • Girls Assistant: John Lindsay 
  • Camp Director: Suzanne Wild 
South 
  • Boys Head Coach: Billy Beddow 
  • Boys Assistant: Charlie Haynes 
  • Boys Assistant: Mitchell Timmins 
  • Girls Head Coach: Kiely Reed 
  • Girls Assistant: Bjorn Westman 
  • Girls Assistant: Daniel Fatomide 
  • Camp Director: Sarah Goddard 
South East 
  • Boys Head Coach: Rhys Davies 
  • Boys Assistant: Brian Deacon 
  • Boys Assistant: Jerry Jaranilla 
  • Girls Head Coach: Barney Blake 
  • Girls Assistant: Andy Stock 
  • Girls Assistant: Freddie Winton 
  • Camp Director: Nik Bedwell 
South West 
  • Boys Head Coach: Christian Hill 
  • Boys Assistant: Ehjaz Khan 
  • Boys Assistant: Gus Roach 
  • Girls Head Coach: Maialen Zilbeti 
  • Girls Assistant: Cormac O'Callaghan 
  • Girls Assistant: Kie Booth 
  • Camp Director: Paula Charity 
  • Volunteer Coach: Graham Biggs 
  • Volunteer Coach: Adam Scott 
West Midlands 
  • Boys Head Coach: Stephen Barnes 
  • Boys Assistant: Emanuel Jr. Bradshaw 
  • Boys Assistant: Funganayi Chogugudza 
  • Girls Head Coach: Gemma Salmon 
  • Girls Assistant: tbc  
  • Girls Assistant: Steve Mroso 
  • Camp Director: tbc  
Yorkshire 
  • Boys Head Coach: Matt Newby 
  • Boys Assistant: tbc  
  • Boys Assistant: tbc  
  • Girls Head Coach: Vanessa Ellis 
  • Girls Assistant: Tyler Gayle 
  • Girls Assistant: Katie Lamond 
  • Boys Camp Director: Tina Campbell 
  • Girls Camp Director: tbc  

Dominic Ng, London Regional Talent Manager, said: 

"We have assembled a group of inspiring staff that can excite our talented players and keep them committed to improving and striving for achievement.” 

Sarah Goddard, South Aspire Skills Camp Director, said: 

“I took on the role as I have knowledge and passion for the holistic approach to player welfare, which has never been more important than as we emerge from COVID-19.  

“Our young people now need to look to the future in a number of positive ways, personally and through their basketball. I am happy to be able to support the coaching team and young people with them.  

“I think the thing I am looking forward to on our first camp in October is players and coaches seeing old friends and making new ones with others that share the same focus and passion for basketball. Having a friend in basketball means you are always part of an ever-growing family.” 

Phil Russell, East Aspire Skills Head Coach, said: 

“I applied for the role to have a positive influence on players to help them develop and reach their full potential. I’m most looking forward to meeting the players at our first camp and creating a positive learning environment where all our players feel empowered to challenge one another and develop.” 

Aspire Programme structure - 2021/22 

All Aspire participants will be involved in camp activity within their region between October and Easter (Stage 1), before selected players move on to one of four super-region camps at Easter and in May (Stage 2).  

An Aspire All-Star Tournament will then take place in early Summer 2022 as the final stage of the programme for the 2021/22 season (Stage 3). 

The super-regions are defined as: 
  • North – North East, North West and Yorkshire 
  • Central – East Midlands, West Midlands, South West 
  • London – London North, London South 
  • South – East, South East, South 
Camp dates: 

Stage 1 – Aspire Skills Camps (Regional)  

  • October Half Term – 3 days 
  • Christmas Break – 2 days 
  • February Half Term – 3 days 
  • Easter Break – 3 days 

Stage 2 – Aspire Super-Region Camps 

  • Easter Break – 3 days 
  • May Half Term – 3 days 

Stage 3 – Aspire All-Star Tournament 

  • Date and location TBC 

Further information (including specific dates, venues and costs) will be communicated to identified players/parents directly. 

Anyone in the North East or East Midlands who wants get involved as a regional coach should contact the relevant RTM.