Adam Kelly
PhD student


Following the completion of my three year Undergrad degree in Southampton and two years as a Professional Football Player at Salisbury City FC, I decided to take the next step within the academic ladder at the University of Exeter. Towards the end of my MSc in 2013, I was offered (and delightfully accepted) the exciting position to jointly research and collaborate between the University of Exeter and Exeter City FC Academy. This role currently includes managing the unique partnership between the Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre (CHERC) & the College of Life and Environmental Sciences (CLES) and Exeter City FC Academy, leading the Academy sports science programme and researching talent development in elite youth football.

As a result of gaining a vast amount of experience coaching elite youth football players over the recent years, my interest surrounding the key features of development is both enduring and extensive. My ongoing research is investigating the psychological, physiological, technical, tactical and social characteristics of elite youth football players aged 8 to 18. This involves a variety of in depth research methods including questionnaires, testing and longitudinal studies. This research aims to conclude by identifying the vital characteristics of elite youth football players that progress and develop in an Academy environment.

I am fortunate enough to be supervised by Assoc. Prof. Mark Wilson and Prof. Craig Williams. The former is a specialist in experimental psychology and human movement, with his research including collaborations with both the FA and the RFU exploring talent development. The latter is internationally recognised for his research in paediatric exercise physiology, and is Director of the leading world research centre CHERC. I hope this distinctive range of expertise and research will guide me towards national or international recognition within talent development in youth football.

Whist studying towards my PhD, I hope to continue my professional development by completing my BASES accreditation and UEFA ‘A’ Licence. Outside of ‘work’ I play part-time football for Weymouth FC and enjoy mixing with both new and old friends. I can be found on social networking sites including Twitter (AdamKelly07), Instagram (AdamKellyInsta), LinkedIn (Adam Kelly - Head of Academy Sport Science at Exeter City Football Club) and ResearchGate.

Both Postgrad & Undergrad students are welcome to approach me via email regarding possible work experience within the Academy, or research opportunities surrounding my PhD topic. Other academics or professionals outside of the University of Exeter are also welcome to connect with me.


MSc Sport & Health Science (University of Exeter)
BA(Hons) Sports Studies (Southampton Solent University)
UEFA ‘B’ Licence
FA Youth Award

Contact details


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