Academy Manager Dan Harris brings us up to date with the behind the scenes news from the u7s-u23s programme:
This time of year is a crucial recruitment window as we fight to attract some of the best young talent from around the country to join the four local players we have already signed in to out scholarship programme for next season.
As we saw last year, this is a fiercely competitive few months, but the hours of work that go in trying to identify and recruit players from some of the biggest Category One Academies in the country can yield some young men who have a real opportunity to make a career for themselves here at Oxford United. Last season we were able to bring in, amongst others, Michael Elechi from Manchester United, Nico Jones from Fulham and Leon Chambers-Parillion who was on Aston Villa’s radar and there’s no doubt that this injection of talent from outside the club has lifted the performance levels of those already in our building.
I’d like to welcome Trey Grant to the club who is a young right back that signed from Crystal Palace last week and who joins local lads Callum Crook, Tyler Goodrham, Connor Ferguson and Jack Gardner as our fifth new scholar for next season. Trey is a high character young man who tries to model his game around Kyle Walker and, whilst he clearly has huge amounts of work to do to develop over the coming years, it was positive to see him interacting confidently with the first team manager last week. As a club we want young men with a quiet self-belief in their own ability and we look forward to working with these five young men over the coming months and years - our attention now turns to the search for three other young players with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove who want to come and play their part in writing a bright future here at Oxford United.
In our younger age groups it was fantastic to see our u11s, u12s and u13s all attending EFL tournaments this weekend and even better that all three came home having won their respective competitions. Our 13s, who hosted a four-team tournament went unbeaten throughout the day; didn’t concede a goal and were able to beat Swindon in the final – a positive day all round! Our u11s were also able to beat Wolves in their final and my congratulations go to U13 Centre Back Charlie Cooke for winning player of the tournament after a series of dominant defensive displays at the heart of the Oxford back four.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank local clubs Carterton FC and Oxfordshire Skills Acquisition who both bought young sides up to our Horspath Road training ground on Sunday to play in games against our U9s and u10s. It was great to be able to welcome both of these well-run local sides to our First Team training ground as we look to continue to build strong relationships with key people across the region – thanks to all the players, parents and coaches that helped facilitate these fixtures and particularly to Foundation Phase Lead coach Jonny Edmunds for his work in pulling this all together.
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