Decisions, Derbies & Development…
As we move towards the home straight of the season, life in the Academy continues at a pace with loads of activity and progress being made across all eleven age-group squads.
Last Saturday saw our U16s and U18s sides taking on Swindon in a pair of full-throttle local derbies. Games of this kind are crucial for the development of our young players as we work hard on exposing them to the realities of what it takes to win football matches. Particular credit goes to Kieran Hayes’ young U16s side who, despite being down to ten men for over 70 minutes, were able to battle hard for a well-deserved 1-0 win.
This time of year sees us making decisions across all age-groups on which players have earnt the opportunity to extend their registrations for the new season. Anyone who has watched the “No Hunger in Paradise” documentary will be familiar with the challenges facing young players in professional Academies. As a club we are trying to build a new culture with our young men that ensures they understand that Football is “what they do NOT who they are.” Whilst we know that only a very small percentage of Academy players across the country ever end up becoming professionals, here at Oxford United we are working hard to ensure that our lads are better human beings for having been in our programme and leave us with a value system and set of standards that equips them for the rest of their lives.
As part of our commitment to raising the profile of the club here in Oxfordshire I am pleased to announce that, as an Academy we will be working much more closely with the OUFC Community programme over the coming months. The next few weeks will see us hosting both a Primary Schools Competition at the 1st Team training Ground and an Easter “Champions League style” tournament for sixteen local grassroots teams/Academies. We are committed to providing a pathway for the best local players to play for their local professional club and look forward to welcoming over 250 young players from the county as they compete under the Oxford United badge.
In a similar vein, the OUFC Academy wants any talented young player in our area to know that the door is open for them here at club. If you are aware of any lad who has been offered a trial at any other professional club we would ask that you make contact with either Jonny Edmunds (age 7-11) or Kieran Hayes (age 12-18) and we will arrange for them to come in and trial with their local club – would be great to see everyone playing their part in helping support local players to play for Oxford United.
In finishing I would like to once again draw your attention to the U-18s Youth Team EFL Cup Final against Luton Town being played at the Kassam Stadium on the 31st March. It would be great to see as many fans as possible supporting our young players over the Easter weekend. This family-friendly game is a great chance to see some the emerging talent here at Oxford United including young strikers Owen James and Dejon Noel-Williams who have been in rich goal scoring form this season with over 35 goals between them. Ticket details are available at oufctickets.co.uk
For more information on life in the Academy here at Oxford United check out our new dedicated twitter feed - @AcademyOUFC.
Proud History – Bright Future!
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OUFC are looking to appoint a number of new part-time coaches for our Boys Academy Programme.
This is an exciting time for the Academy with a number of changes that will see us moving forward as we look to provide a development platform for the best young players in Oxfordshire.
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