A photo headshot of Albion Under-18s boss Leigh Downing ahead of the 2023/24 season
Job Title
Lead U18 Professional Development Phase Coach

Leigh fulfilled a long-term ambition when he was appointed Albion's Lead U18 Professional Development Phase Coach.

Having taken over from Peter Gilbert, whom Leigh was assistant to prior to his departure, the former Baggies scholar worked hard to progress through the ranks across several fronts at The Hawthorns. 

Although Downing's playing career in B71 didn't progress how he'd wanted it to, his coaching path began not far away with the Albion Foundation - carrying out their sports development programme for kids in Birmingham's community and schools, in addition to developing to the club's futsal initiative between 2010-2013.

Those lessons gave Leigh the opportunity to start on the coaching ladder with the club's academy, where he progressed through a plethora of roles to eventually gain the chance to lead Albion's scholars in the present day. 

Titles gained during his time in the Baggies' youth system include (chronologically); Academy Coach, Assistant Foundation Phase Coach, Lead Foundation Phase Coach, Assistant Youth Development Phase Coach, Lead Youth Development Phase Coach, Professional Development Phase Coach, before making the step to Lead PDP boss. 

Downing marked his 13th year coaching by being put in charge of the 18s in September 2022 and with 14 years' experience as coach at the club, Leigh will hope his progression continues with Albion.