Gary Walker named Head of Performance for Brighton & Hove Albion


FC Cincinnati Director of Sports Performance Gary Walker has been named Head of Performance for Brighton & Hove Albion of the Premier League, the clubs announced today.

Walker will depart the Orange and Blue following the May 29 home match against Nashville SC. FC Cincinnati have already begun the search to fill his role. He was named the first Director of Sports Performance in club history ahead of FC Cincinnati’s inaugural 2019 Major League Soccer season, and now he will return to his native England and lead the Premier League club’s sports performance team. He will take up his new role in the summer ahead of the 2024/25 Premier League preseason.

“I’d like to thank Gary for the work he’s done for FC Cincinnati over the last five years,” said Chris Albright, FC Cincinnati General Manager. “He has been instrumental in the growth and professionalization of our sports performance and medical teams, and a big contributor to the quality of environment we have at this club. While it will be tough to lose Gary, we are excited for him and his family and wish him success in this new opportunity.”

With FC Cincinnati, Walker oversaw all aspects of the club’s health and wellness initiatives, including athletic training, nutrition, strength and conditioning and physical therapy. He also oversaw the club’s medical relationship with Mercy Health, working in tandem with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Matthew Busam. 

“It has been a privilege to spend the past five years at FC Cincinnati,” said Walker. “I would like to thank Carl Lindner III and Jeff Berding for giving me and my family the opportunity to move here, to build a sports performance department and contribute towards the club’s success. 

“More recently, I am appreciative of the support of both Chris Albright and Pat Noonan and would like to thank them, together with all of the players and support staff that I have worked with. I am proud to leave the club in a better place and wish everybody at FC Cincinnati the best for the future.”

Before joining FC Cincinnati in 2019, Walker spent 11 years with Manchester United, where he began in 2008 as the club’s lead sports scientist and strength and conditioning coach under manager Sir Alex Ferguson. In 2010, he assumed leadership of Manchester United’s strength and conditioning program before working as the first team’s fitness coach ahead of the 2014-15 campaign.

Walker earned his degree in Sports and Exercise Science with honors in 2002 from Loughborough University, and then completed his PhD in Exercise Physiology in 2006 from the same institution. He received a master’s degree in sporting directorship from the University of Salford in 2020.

Under Walker’s leadership of the sports medicine and performance teams, FC Cincinnati have thrived in quick turnaround situations and matches under short rest. Since 2022, FC Cincinnati are 14-2-5 when playing a match on two days’ rest. In the past two seasons, the Orange and Blue twice had stretches of eight matches in 25 days, and both times performed extremely well. Last season, the Orange and Blue went 6-0-2 between May 17 and June 10. This year, in the first eight matches to begin the 2024 season, FCC went 4-2-2.