Academy Manager Dan Harris brings us up to date with the behind the scenes news from the U7s-U23s programme:
I’d like to start this week’s update by passing on our best wishes to Academy graduate Malachi Napa as he begins his recovery following surgery on his broken leg sustained in the Peterborough game earlier this week. Malachi is a fantastically positive young man who is well liked across the club - we know he’ll get great support from everyone over the next few months as he works back towards full fitness.
Many of you will have seen the Sky Sports feature this week with the manager as we launched “the Long List” of players in the boys programme who have been given a squad number. As I have mentioned previously, Karl is a fantastic advocate of young players as shown by the club being in the top five in the division for “minutes played by under 23s” last season. Our players loved having the manager, Leon Blackmore-Such (Lead Professional Phase Coach) and Chris Allen (U23s coach) down at training on Monday – another sign of how joined up the club is becoming.
In a similar vein I’d like to thank all those who came down to support the women’s programme in their pre-season fixture v Abingdon United last week as a fundraiser for local Leukaemia charities. Liam Gilbert and his staff did an excellent job last season of stabilising the women’s programme and I know they are really positive about the season ahead - everyone at the Academy wishes all the girl’s sides well for the season ahead.
It was great to see five Academy graduates in the first team squad for the Carabao Cup game on Tuesday and particularly for Kevin Berkoe who made his senior professional debut. Kevin, like fellow squad member Kyran Lofthouse, is still a teenager and it has been great to see both making a positive impact in the first few weeks of the season.
This weekend sees our U16s and U18s take on Swindon in the first derby of the season! Whilst we are focused on developing future players for Karl’s first team, fixtures like this give us a chance to help our young players understand the reality of what it means to wear the Oxford United badge.
Finally, we have a number of sponsorship opportunities still available in the Academy this year, including individual player sponsorship packages and even the chance to sponsor these weekly updates! If you want to get involved and support the future of the club in this way please drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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