Academy Manager Dan Harris writes
I’d like to start this week’s Academy Update by adding our congratulations to Karl, his staff and players who have played their part in producing some fantastic performances in the league and cups over the last few weeks. It has been great for our young players to be able to see the quality of football currently on show up close and this is certainly something that can act as further inspiration for all our youngsters as they continue in their own development.
Behind the scenes this year we have made a conscious decision to promote younger players through our age-group squads more quickly in order to expose them earlier to the challenges associated with playing against older, more experienced players. Whether this be 15-year old Adam Smith playing in our Under-18s; 16-year old Tyler Goodrham training with the Under-23s; or 17-year old Nico Jones travelling with the First Team, the aim is that these, and others, will be better equipped as a result for the requirements of Senior football over the years ahead.
Off the field we were delighted to be able to welcome Marcus Gayle and Troy Townsend from the PFA this week who spent time with our scholars looking at the issues around discrimination, diversity and inclusion. This is a crucial part of our support programme as we look to impact the game positively over the years ahead. Our scholars will now take this information forward and will be leading sessions with our younger schoolboy players over the next couple of weeks as part of ensuring these messages get embedded into the DNA of our Academy.
As an Academy we want to celebrate the success of our staff and players and, with that in mind, I’d like to congratulate the following people for their achievements over the last seven days:
- Leon Blackmore-Such and Chris Hackett who’s Under 18s secured a deserved 3-2 win over top of the League Portsmouth this week.
- Ieuen Morgan, Aaron Bayle and their Under-15s who travelled to Plymouth for a successful 6-team tournament last week.
- U15s midfielder Enrique Tiamuna who has signed with the club after impressing on trial over recent weeks.
- U18s Centre Back Viktor Milton (pictured) who made his first start in the Under 23s having fought back from a serious knee injury over the last 9 months.
With the FA Youth Cup, League fixtures and Academy games programme now all in full swing it’s a busy few months ahead for the Youth Development Programme across all our age-groups – we’re certainly looking forward to the challenges ahead!
Stay up to date with all things Academy by following the club’s official youth development twitter feed - @AcademyOUFC.
Proud History: Bright Future