Academy Manager Dan Harris brings us up to date
One of the hallmarks of elite performance often seen across industries, is a commitment to a shared set of values that underpins everything which that particular organisation strives to achieve. Over the last 15 months here at the Academy we have been working towards building this value system within our youth development programme and this week saw us formalise this work into four key principles as we look towards finishing the final three months of the season positively:
- Relentless – No club in the country outworks us.
- Relational – Integrity underpins every interaction we have.
- Ruthless – Excellence is the only standard we judge ourselves by.
- Responsible – We are ambassadors for our badge at all times.
Over time our aim is to engrain these values into every part of our programme as we continue trying to build a bright future here at Oxford United.
On the grass the last seven days have seen a number of outside visitors coming in to work across our age groups.
Former Coventry City defender Brian Burrows has been in with our U18s working on behalf of the PFA helping to mentor our young players through their level two coaching badges. Giving our scholars the opportunity to see the game through a coaching lens is great for their development and will hopefully help provide them with a stronger understanding of the game as they continue to progress over the coming years.
Our commitment to “investing in the lives of young footballers” saw us deliver a social media workshop in association with the LFE highlighting the power and pitfalls of modern technology for young footballers. We want young men who are ambassadors for our badge and sessions like this help our players to understand their part in protecting their own, and the club’s, integrity.
Former Championship midfielder Claus Jorgenson came down last week and delivered a guest coaching session with our U13s sharing his experiences of what it takes to make the most of the opportunities that you are given in both life and football – it was great seeing our young lads interact so maturely with all of these outside speakers.
On the grass our younger age groups were able to clock up our 9th and 10th wins against Category One academies this season when we went up against Fulham during half term. Having set an initial target of five wins against the “Big 20” Academies for this year, to have doubled this before the end of February is a credit to all involved. We want to create a culture where our players have no fear of going toe to toe with any side they come up against and we are beginning to see this quiet self-confidence emerge in many of our age groups.
As we recognise success across the age groups I’d also like to acknowledge the following:
- Our U23s who ran a strong Wolves side close in their final Premier League Cup game last week. In our first season with a u23s side, getting through qualification; going unbeaten at home and matching up against some big Academy sides was a positive first step for the future of some of these lads.
- Slavi Spasov for receiving his first international call up to the Bulgaria U18s side.
- U17 Centre Back Nico Jones and U18 wide man Kyran Lofthouse for being named in the matchday 1st team squads for the first time this season.
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