LOUIS Dunne is treading the same path of his dad and Colchester United legend Joe – by becoming an academy coach at the club.

The 22-year-old has taken up a full-time role coaching the under-12s in the U’s academy, along with working with youngsters within the club’s community scheme.

Dunne, who was released by Colchester as a player last summer after making five first-team appearances for the club, signed a one-year deal to play for National League South outfit Chelmsford City last week.

And the Colchester-born midfielder says he is looking forward to combining his playing duties with his coaching position at the U’s, a club he represented between the ages of eight to 21.

Dunne said: “It’s been really good – it’s long hours but I do enjoy it.

“Kieran Michaels, who also used to be a player at Colchester, is with me there as well, coaching the under-11s.

“A lot of players I think were surprised to see me and Kieran as we’re so young but they knew what we could do, coaching-wise.

“I’m working with Sean Thacker, Jon De Souza, everyone at Colchester.

“Chelmsford’s games will be on Saturday afternoons, which doesn’t clash with any training or games for the younger ones, so it’s really good.

“I do have ambitions to go into football management, when I’m older.

“But first things first for me at the moment is playing.

“When I was growing up, I always used to play the football manager games and have always been interested in all aspects of the game.

“I got my B Licence two or three years ago, which I passed with flying colours and since then, even though I’m young I thought I enjoy it so much, I’m going to do it as a job.

“I had my Level 2 and I thought ‘I’m going to go for it’.

“I spent two weeks at West Ham’s training ground with the likes of Aaron McLean, Elliot Ward and loads of seasoned pros.”


Joe Dunne spent nearly two years in charge as Colchester boss, between 2012 and 2014.

He played more than 160 league games as a right-back for the U’s, before progressing through the coaching ranks at the club.


Dunne represented Colchester as a player, manager, caretaker manager, assistant manager and under-18 coach.

“My dad feels really positive about me going into coaching,” said Louis, who spent 13 years at the U’s as a player.

“He’s seen me captain the under-23s and captain Farnborough, so I’ve taken that sort of role of being confident with a group and in the changing room.

“He encourages every decision I make.

“We speak about it and I ask for advice.

“He retired early as a player and went straight into the youth team.

“It’s a bit different to what I’m doing but he has had that experience of coaching younger boys.

“Even with my playing though, he doesn’t get involved too much – it’s about me building my own path.”

Dunne was always a prominent representative of Colchester United in the community during his time at the club as a player.

And the past Colchester United Community Player of the Year award winner is now continuing in that area, in his new role.

It takes him into schools in the area, including the U’s-affiliated college scheme at Thurstable School in Tiptree, where he was previously a pupil.

“I enjoyed the community work I did when I was at Colchester as a player and it’s amazing the connections you make, from that,” said Dunne.

“I have time for people, especially in Colchester because I’ve grown up and played for the club from eight to 22.

“I had an affiliation with people and the community scheme is such a great organisation – I realised it before but it’s not until you step into it that you see how flourishing an organisation it is.

“So many schools, so many after-school clubs, so many young people around Colchester and as far as London who come in and just train every or most days.”


Dunne was one of a number of players released by Colchester last summer, amid the backdrop of the tough financial climate for clubs brought on by Covid-19 pandemic.

“It was tough to leave Colchester as a player – I’m not going to lie,” said Dunne.

“I still felt I had a lot to give but the likes of Frank Nouble and Luke Prosser even left and it became a difficult one for the club, in general.

“I was sad but you have to move on and fortunately, I’ve managed to do that.

“When it came about, it was first lockdown and it was tough because I got released and then it was a case of ‘what next?’.

“With the world so up in the air, I didn’t really know what avenue to go down.

“I knew I was a good player and I knew I’d get an opportunity somewhere else but you still have that feeling in your mind.

“I was supposed to go in for trials at places but Covid would block that and it became a real problem because of lockdown and stuff.”

Dunne bounced back strongly from the disappointment of leaving Colchester.

He impressed for Southern League Premier Division South outfit Farnborough this season, having previously played for them on loan from the U’s in the 2019-20 campaign.

He said: “I loved it at Farnborough – I played every game until Covid and then signed for them, for this season.

“I ended up playing nearly 30 games for them week in, week out pretty much starting 90 minutes every week and its helped me massively.

“From a playing point of view, I went from being on the fringes of the first team and 23s to then playing week in, week out in the very competitive Southern League and playing against higher-placed teams in trophies, in games that mean so much to fans.”


Now Dunne is looking forward to a new challenge with Chelmsford, where he has been reunited with fellow former U’s academy players Cameron James and Callum Jones.

He said: “Chelmsford is a fantastic opportunity – it’s a club that’s in a city backed by a big fanbase with lots of opportunity to grow.

“Simmo (manager Robbie Simpson) is fantastic and we have got aspirations and beliefs that we can do well, because the club always seems to do well in the National South.

“We have a young team with some experienced boys and we’re excited about the season.

“I have aspirations to kick on with Callum and Cam and our playing careers aren’t by any means finished.

“We want to kick on with Chelmsford now and show what we can do, as well as the team.

“I’m really excited about it and week in, week out football can only help me, going forward.”

It is indeed an exciting time for Dunne, who is looking forward to playing a big part both on and off the field in his different roles, next season.

He added: “I’m hoping to gain as much coaching experience as I can and play as much as I can.

“I have aspirations for sure but I’m just taking it one step at a time.

“I only ever see myself in football and I now share coaching equally with playing – I enjoy the two just as much as each other.”