Academy Manager Dan Harris brings us up to date with life in our Youth Development programme…
Over the first 10 months of my time here at Oxford United fans will have heard me talk about how important it is to us as an Academy to not only produce elite level footballers, but also high-quality human beings. We are fiercelycommitted to developing well-rounded young men who understand the responsibility that comes with the privilege of wearing this badge.
In a week that has seen us mark 100 years since the end of the First World War I was incredibly proud to see over 300 players, parents and staff members from the Academy stand together before our Sunday games and remember those service personnel and civilians who have lost their lives in conflict over the last century. My particular thanks go to U-15 midfielder Theo Mara who read the “Ode to Remembrance” as part of this ceremony – he was a credit to himself and this club.
Behind the scenes within the Youth Programme it has continued to be a busy period with both the U18s and U23s playing key games in their respective knock-out cup competitions. There is a lot of work that goes on unseen to ensure an Academy can operate effectively and I wanted to put on record my particular thanks to Jonny Edmunds for his work over the last couple of weeks. Jonny is well known to many across the county and works tirelessly as our Foundation Phase (7-11s) Lead Coach and also as our Academy Administrator. Alongside these two full time roles Jonny has also filled in as first team kit man in recent weeks whilst the club works to find a replacement and it is credit to the quality of the man that Jonny has stepped up to take on this added workload in the way that he has.
As part of our commitment to building a world-class programme here at Oxford United I’d like to recognise the following individuals for their achievements over recent weeks:
- Local U15s players Adam Smith and Will Morgan who have signed registration forms to join the club after completing a successful trial period.
- U23s players Aaron Heap (pictured) and Harvey Bradbury for making their professional debuts in the 1st team last week.
- Our U18s who have now gone 4 points clear at the top of their league with games against Bournemouth and Plymouth to come over the next few weeks.
- Academy Lead Scout Gareth Hamer who has recently returned from leading a successful trip to visit Real Madrid in his role with the JPL rep teams.
- Head of Academy Video Analysis Dan Cooper who has been offered a leadership role at a well-known Category One Academy starting in January.
Our commitment to developing high quality players and young men who can represent this proud city in the right way will always underpin the work that we do here in the Academy – make sure you follow the Official Academy Twitter feed @AcademyOUFC to stay up to date with all the Youth Development news here at Oxford United.
Proud History: Bright Future