Solly: 'It feels like my first day at school!'


Chris Solly spoke of his delight at returning to the club he grew up with after the academy graduate was appointed as a Professional Development Phase Coach.

“It feels brilliant,” he said. “I always imagined that one day I would come back in a coaching capacity. From the day I left I still had that vision of hopefully coming back one day. Today’s the day, so it’s brilliant to be back.

Most recently a player-coach at Ebbsfleet United, Solly explained that once he heard of interest from Academy Director Steve Avory, it was an opportunity he just could not turn down.

“The opportunity to come back at such a young age and start my coaching career was a no-brainer," explained the 33-year-old. "Coming through the academy myself, and knowing how successful it is and the amount of good people that work within it, I’m looking forward to learning from everyone here.”

Solly joined Charlton at U12 level, and will use his experience as an academy player to help a new generation of young talents on their journey. 

“I’ve experienced what it takes to come through. Everything that the boys in the academy are going through, I’ve experienced. I’ve got the knowledge I can pass on to them. 

“In the last few years, playing in the National League and experiencing what it takes to play at that level [will also help]. Of course, we want all the lads to come through and break into the first-team, but after that I want as many of the lads to have careers in the game. I think the knowledge I can pass on to them through [my National League] experience as well will be beneficial to them.”

The former right-back will be approaching his new role with exactly the same determination that made him so popular in his playing days.

“I feel like it’s my first day at school today! All the ambitions I’ve had as a player - trying to get to the highest level, be the best I can - that’s exactly how I feel now as a coach,” he explained.

“I want to become the best coach I can, and I feel being at this club and this environment is perfect for me.”

Solly’s move to coaching has been a long time in the making. “I did my B License here at quite a young age, before I even envisioned becoming a coach. That really gave me the bug, and especially over the last five or six years, I’ve always had an eye on it,” he added.

The prospect of working with the likes of Avory, who oversaw the whole of his development in the academy, was one of the factors which enticed Solly.

“Steve’s one of the best I’ve ever come across,” he said. “I always thought even if I wasn’t back here that Steve would almost be a bit of a mentor to me - I’ll always lean on him for advice.

“But it’s not just Steve - working alongside Locky [Chris Lock], Pearcey [Jason Pearce] and Jamo [Kevin James]... the amount of stuff that I’m going to learn from all three of them is going to be unbelievable.

“I’m so excited to get going, and to do that back here is just perfect.”

Charlton fans can support the academy by signing up to the Valley Gold scheme. Valley Gold enables fans to support the club’s academy in unearthing the talents of tomorrow, as well as giving them the chance to win cash prizes.

Click here for more information on how you can become a Valley Gold member.

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