Retired Jamaican national player Ricardo Fuller will make his grand return to his club of six years, Stoke City, joining the English club’s elite category one academy as one of its newest coaches.
Fuller’s football career began with the Jamaican premier league club Tivoli Gardens before he made his international debut with the English club Crystal Palace. He would go on to play for clubs such as Portsmouth and Southampton before finding a home at his longest-contracted club, Stoke City F.C., in 2006.
Under the Professional Player to Coach scheme jointly run by the Premier League, EFL and Professional Footballers’ Association, as they strive to increase the diversity of coaches, Fuller will return to Stoke City to work with age groups from under-9s to under-21s. The 42-year-old will be leading both team and individual coaching sessions and learning more about the recruitment process and sports science as he obtains greater insight into life in the youth system.
Speaking on Fuller’s return, academy director Gareth Owen said that the former forward emerged as the strongest contender after a thorough interview process involving several applicants for the position. Owen went on to express the academy’s delight at having him join them after an illustrious career at the club.
At Clayton Wood, the training ground and academy of Stoke City, Fuller will be joined by Rory Delap, a first-team coach; Danny Pugh, coach of the under-18s; and Liam Lawrence and Carl Dickinson, who will be working with the under-16s and under-12s, respectively. All four players were instrumental in Stoke’s promotion to premier league status in 2008.
During his career with Stoke City, Fuller made 208 appearances and secured 50 goals and 23 assists before later retiring with a total of 134 goals.