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Kurt Herd joins ambitious Villarreal Academy project in Malaysia

La Liga giants Villarreal have procured the services of highly experienced coach Kurt Herd as they seek to expand their presence in Southeast Asia. Herd, who set off to Australia at the age of 18 to begin his coaching career, has taken up the dual role of Regional Head Coach and Coach Development Officer at the club’s ambitious Villarreal Academy Malaysia project.

The setup is directly supported by the Villarreal Academy, one of Spain’s top elite football academies. It aims to support and develop Malaysia’s next generation of international footballers by delivering Villarreal’s world-class coaching methodology through a variety of programmes that welcome young players aged 3 to 19.

To realise that goal, the Spanish club has secured top-class training facilities in the Klang Valley and has tapped leading coaching talent — like Herd — to spearhead its comprehensive suite of programmes.

The UEFA-qualified coach landed his first full-time coaching role with Queensland’s Magic United in 2012. He later travelled back to his home country of Scotland to take up positions in performance analysis and player recruitment before becoming first-team manager of Abertay University’s football team. Herd has also worked with Academy players at a number of Scottish clubs, including Dundee United, Dundee, and Livingston.

In 2021, an opportunity with FC Kuala Lumpur took the skilled coach to Malaysia, where he has now returned to begin a new chapter with Villarreal. Speaking to Football Careers, Herd said:

“I spent some time with the club in Spain, working closely with coaches from the U12 level through to the B Team to better understand their way of working within the club’s curriculum and methodology so that I can bring that to the club here and develop some talent fit for moving to Europe.

“I’m in daily dialogue with my colleagues in Spain to maintain best practice here and sustain my own development within the club.”

As for what the club hopes to achieve in Malaysia, Herd commented in a Courier Sport interview:

“Over time, we hope to bring over the best talent from Thailand, Indonesia, and maybe even Australia. Can we make this a hub for all of the best Asian talent out with Japan and Korea?

“That’s the challenge.”

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