Written by: Jason Bristow.
As we now enter the second half of the season we can reflect on a very successful start to the campaign, we now have 59 full time players that are well on their way to completing their Level one coaching certificates with first aid training and safeguarding children workshops, their level 2 fitness instructing and level 3 personal training qualifications, their diploma in sport and GCSE Maths and English.
On the football front we are, for the first time, competing in three separate leagues. We are very much focused on development but the players are competing very well on all fronts, we also now run an under 21 side which players will feed into as they look to progress to our first team.
Currently we have 14 players we have managed to place in Saturday senior sides, these players are gaining valuable experience in a senior league and learning to cope with the more physical side of football. We are receiving excellent feedback from the clubs and look forward to continuing to help local sides with players and players with opportunities to play. Clubs such as Whitchurch, Frimley, Ash, Westfield, Stockbridge and Farnham are currently benefitting from our academy players. We can also boast that in recent times we have players progressing through to go onto play professionally and also to be crucial players in our first team. We have high hopes that there will be many more to follow the likes of Joe McDonnell, Simon Dunn and, most recently, George Hallahan.
Our under 21 team play against other sides who will field a mixture of academy, U21s and first team players, this is a fantastic opportunity for players to play with and against more senior players. This will again help with the development and understanding of the players roles within the team and they will learn a great deal whilst being around first team regulars.
All of the academy players are receiving coaching from A Licenced coaches and have an excellent programme in place which includes regular feedback and one to one meetings about development, video analysis of individual and team performances, self evaluations of matches, regular fitness testing and players individual learning plans.
We are currently recruiting for next years intake of academy players, anyone interested can register their interest here.