Carlos Corberán’s journey to The Hawthorns

An image of new Albion boss Carlos Corberan barking instructions on the touchline

Carlos Corberán has been appointed as the new Albion Head Coach. Take a journey through his career to date to find out more about how the 39-year-old reached The Hawthorns dugout.

A desire to coach from a young age

A former goalkeeper during his playing days, the Spaniard developed through the youth ranks at La Liga side Valencia CF. Despite featuring at reserve-team level for his local club and in Spain’s former fourth division, he retired at the age of 23, because coaching was the pathway Corberán wanted to invest his future in.

At the age of 18, while still between the sticks, Carlos led his local town Cheste’s academy sides and assessed his former team-mates during their training sessions, in preparation for adapting those drills and scenarios to the clubs he would later work for. 

An image of new Albion boss Carlos Corberan giving out instructions while on the touchline

Solid grounding in the game

Opportunities in professional management can take time to come, and Corberán certainly had to work hard for his. 

Balancing responsibilities is something Albion’s new boss has always excelled in. The former shot-stopper studied sports and exercise science at the University of Valencia around the time when he hung up his boots, and an opportunity arose at Villarreal in 2006. 

Working as a fitness coach for the Spanish top-flight club’s third, second and eventually senior team in 2011, gave Corberán a better idea of the structure behind a professional sports club. Time at local club Cheste overseeing the youth teams also gave Carlos a good grounding in coaching.

Over six seasons at Villarreal, Corberán developed his credentials, transitioning from fitness coach to becoming part of then manager Juan Carlos Garrido’s technical team.

Experience in Europe 

During his time at the yellow submarine, Carlos enjoyed several unforgettable experiences on football’s elite stage. 

He was part of the backroom staff which helped Villarreal reach the semi-finals of the 2010/11 Europa League and, a couple of years down the line, a second-placed finish in La Liga - meaning Pep Guardiola’s former Barcelona team had to settle for third.

Understandably, the successful current Manchester City boss and fellow countryman is someone Corberán has always admired from a coaching perspective, but it was Pep’s former assistant who shaped some of the new Albion boss’ educational choices and route into the game. 

An image of new Albion boss Carlos Corberan crouching and giving instructions to his team

Dedication to the sport

The new man at the helm has a doctorate in football. His final project was focused on the philosophy and vision of Juanma Lillo, Guardiola’s former No.2 at Manchester City. 

Carlos got in touch with the influential Spanish coach while studying and, as a result, met Lillo’s assistant Raul Caneda - who he would work alongside during spells in Saudi Arabia (Al-Ittihad Club & Al-Nassr FC). This helped propelled him towards lead managerial roles in Cyprus (Doxa Katokopias FC & Ermis Aradippou FC) and, more recently, England.

Established bonds and influential figures

In addition to gaining coaching insight from important people such as Lillo and Caneda, Marcelo Bielsa’s arrival at Leeds helped Corberán’s progression even more.

The Argentine has been widely reported speaking of his praise for the new Baggies boss, and valued his opinion on first-team matters during his time at Elland Road.

The Spaniard played an important role in helping United earn promotion to the Premier League in 2020 after initially impressing through becoming the Whites’ Under-23s manager.

Under Corberán’s guidance, Leeds’ youngsters won the Northern Professional Development League title and became national PDL champions in 2019 which, in turn, helped the Yorkshiremen’s academy earn Category One status a year later.

An image of new Albion boss Carlos Corberan celebrating a win while Huddersfield manager

Catching the eye at the John Smith’s Stadium 

Carlos left Elland Road when he was appointed Huddersfield head coach in July 2020. It was a challenging introduction into his first lead role in English football, but he soon learned the demands of the division to create a side capable of challenging at the Championship’s top end.

Although the Terriers finished 20th in his maiden campaign in charge, Corberán led Huddersfield to a third-placed finish during his second season - reaching the Play-Off Final and narrowly missing out on promotion to the Premier League.

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