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Sports Science Staff

Paul Balsom
Head of Sports Science and Performance Analysis

Paul is responsible for the development and enhancement of the sports science and performance analysis support offered to the first team professional players and coaching staff at the club.


Using an integrated proactive approach to the scientific management of player development, the aim is to improve individual and team performance. Paul graduated with a PhD in Exercise Physiology from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, in 1995.

He also currently works for the Swedish National Team where he is responsible for sports science and performance analysis support.

Paul joined Leicester in 2008 and is enjoying his second spell with the Foxes having re-joined the Club in December 2011.

Matt Reeves
Head of Fitness and Conditioning

Matt is responsible for ensuring the implementation of effective sports science services at the football club. His main objectives surround reducing injury occurrence, whilst improving physical preparation, athletic development and overall performance. 


In order to achieve this, he works closely with the coaches to ensure that players can successfully meet the demands of the game. Having an appreciation of the physiological demands associated with ‘football’ aspects helps Matt identify areas that may require additional attention (agility, peak speed etc). Whilst improvements in fitness and performance enhancement are important, fatigue must be minimised through organisation and implementation of effective recovery strategies. 

Given recent advances in technology, such interventions can be measured using the objective data collected within the department. Whilst this wide range of data is interesting in isolation, Matt's focus is on how this information compares to the carefully defined thresholds that have been established throughout the past four seasons. Interpreting this objective dat alongside subjective measures enables him to establish an understanding of how each individual member of the squad is coping with the demands of the Premier League season. 

His belief is that transparency of such information is key in helping to create a hardworking culture whereby the players set high standards for themselves and their teammates. With this said, he uses innovative methods of feedback to capture the attention, communicate appropriately and in turn affect the behaviour. 

As a Sport and Exercise Science graduate from Loughborough University, Matt’s first opportunity within professional sport came when he interned at the club back in 2008. The following season he worked as 1st Team Sports Scientist on a full time basis before moving to Hull as part of Nigel Pearson’s backroom team. 

Having rejoined City in December 2011, he has been heavily involved in the work undertaken by the Sports Science Department throughout the past five seasons. Aside from his work at the club, he has spent the past two seasons providing support to the England U19/ U20s on International camps.

Andrea Azzalin
First Team Science & Conditioning Coach

Andrea Azzalin joined Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri’s coaching team in 2012 having spent over four years studying at university. 


Azzalin started his career in football coaching at Italian side A.S. Varese 1910 in 2009, spending three years at the club while completing a four-year PhD in Exercise Physiology at the University of Verona. 

While still studying at university, Azzalin linked up with Ranieri for the first time in 2012 and spent two years at A.S. Monaco before moving to Greece’s national side with Ranieri’s staff in 2014. 

Italian-born Azzalin joined Leicester City in July 2015 alongside manager Ranieri and assistant manager Paolo Benetti. 

Tom Joel
First Team Sports Scientist

Tom is responsible for providing effective sports science support/services for the first team. 


Working closely with other members of the department, he delivers practical elements on the pitch and is heavily involved in the analysis of training to ensure players are capable of meeting the demands of the game. 

Tom also assists with the implementation of on-field and off-field injury prevention strategies. With a vast magnitude of data being collected on a daily basis through numerous pieces of technology, one of his main roles is to manage, analyse and monitor such of information. 

He subsequently provides detailed feedback for the coaches, players and the Medical and Sports Science Department, ensuring effective feedback appropriate to the specific audience. 

As a Sport and Exercise Science graduate from Loughborough University, Tom began interning at the club during the 2011/2012 season thought his placement year. 

He continued to provide support the following season whilst completing his studies. On graduating in the summer of 2013, Tom was taken on as the full-time Sports Scientist for the Under-21 squad. 

Having broadened his skill set, he then joined up with the first team at the beginning of the 2014/2015 campaign as the Department expanded in order to prepare for the Premier League season.

Mitch Willis
Strength & Power Coach

Mitch is responsible for the implementation of the Strength and Power Programme at the football club. 


His main objective is to optimise gym based preparation for the first team squad, with a dual focus on performance enhancement and injury prevention. Mitch places a large emphasis on the development of player strength which he delivers as part of a tailored programme, specific to each individual. He also focuses on the improving power, speed and overall robustness whilst hoping to reduce the frequency of soft tissue injuries. 

The nature of the Strength and Power Programme places particular emphasis on the transfer between objectively measured gym based tasks and performance in training/match situations. Of particular interest to Mitch is the correlation between the development of lower limb strength and speed/power, also the development of eccentric hamstring strength. 

With this said, he works closely with the first team physiotherapists throughout rehabilitation as part of the return to play process. 

A former Leicester Tigers Strength and Conditioning Coach, Mitch made the switch from rugby to football at the start of the 2012/2013 campaign. He graduated from Liverpool John Moores University in 2009 with a degree in Sports Science and is a Certificed Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).