Former USW student Andrew Sparkes has joined the coaching staff of Premier League side Southampton.
Previously a Masters student in Sports Coaching and Performance at the University of South Wales, Sparkes has coached in Africa, Austria, the UK and the USA.
The 34-year-old left South African side Orlando Pirates to return to England after wanting to be closer to home, reports FourFourTwo magazine.
Following Dave Watson’s promotion to first team assistant coach under Ralph Hasenhuttl, the Saints identified Sparkes as his replacement.
A statement from Southampton read: “Dave Watson has been asked by Hasenhüttl to enhance his role and will now become first team assistant Coach. Watson’s new role means the club has appointed Andrew Sparkes as our new first team goalkeeping coach.”
Sparkes’ departure from the Pirates, prompted an emotional message from Jackson Mabokgwane, the team’s goalkeeper.
Mabokgwane said: “Farewell Andrew Sparkes. Thanks for your hard work, honesty, love and dedication to Orlando Pirates’ family.
“Thanks for the huge contribution you made in my career. It’s a big loss for our goalkeeping department to see you go, but memories and lessons live forever. Good luck and God bless.”
Swansea-born Sparkes was previously head of academy goalkeeping at Swansea and held the same role with Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls. He also was the U-18 goalkeeper coach for Austrian champions FC Red Bull Salzburg.
He has worked with a number of goalkeepers, including current Swansea City number one Kristoff Nordfeldt, as well as former Tottenham Hotspur stopper Michel Vorm.