Dan Harris brings us the latest news from the Academy.
Life in the Oxford United Academy continues to move forward with progress being made on and off the field.
Last weekend saw our U16’s squad playing in the EFL National Youth Alliance Cup final at Derby County’s Moor Farm Training Complex. A young Oxford United side that included 4 of next year’s scholars had already won through against over 40 other professional sides to compete in the one of the Football League’s showcase finals and, although losing on the day, can be proud of the way they represented the club and this county.
In a similar vein I’d like to extend my congratulations to Leon Blackmore-Such & Chris Hackett’s U18 side who saw off a strong Exeter City team to reach the Southern Final of their EFL National Cup Competition. A gritty performance from our lads in difficult conditions away from home saw our young side come out as winners on penalties after the game finished 3-3 in normal time. The club can be particularly proud of the fight and desire shown by the squad in light of them having played a tough Oxfordshire Senior Cup fixture on a heavy pitch just 4 days beforehand.
As part of our commitment to develop and stretch our young players we have increased the number of games being played by our junior sides against higher tier competition. We firmly believe that, as the club builds towards a future in the Championship, we need to prepare our young players for life in the top tiers of English Football. Last weekend our U12’s side travelled up the M5 to play Premier League West Bromwich Albion whilst this weekend sees various age groups competing against both Crystal Palace and QPR here at the first team training ground.
Off the field we continue to upgrade our staffing and structures and have a specific focus on improving our recruitment here in Oxfordshire. We are a “one club county” and, as such, need to be better at providing a pathway for local players to play for their local professional club.
The coming weeks will see a number of additions to our scouting network as well as an increased commitment to working with other local teams and providers. On that note it was great for our U16’s to play against Oxford City this week under the lights down at Marsh Lane and I’d like to thank all those at City for their hospitality and welcome.
As we move towards half term, our Foundation Phase players continue to develop and this weekend saw the U9’s and their parents take part in their 1st video analysis session at the training ground. Thanks go to our Head of Academy Video Analysis, Dan Cooper, for his continued work supporting the learning of our young players.
For more information on life in the Academy here at Oxford United check out our new dedicated twitter feed - @AcademyOUFC.
Proud History – Bright Future!