Academy manager Dan Harris writes:
As part of our commitment to “investing in the lives of young footballers” we want to try and give our players the opportunity to experience a wide range of fixtures against teams from across the footballing landscape. This Sunday saw our schoolboy sides taking on Category One sides Southampton and West Bromwich Albion and was a fantastic opportunity to test ourselves against two of the most productive Academies in the Country.
We are trying to create a culture across the whole football club that sees Oxford United players and staff being fiercely proud to wear our badge in whichever situation they find themselves – it was fantastic to see our young sides go toe to toe with these “big hitters” and put in some really positive performances.
Over the course of the season, it is important to acknowledge the positive milestones that individuals and teams achieve as part of their development. This week I’d like to pass on our congratulations to the following:
- U14s Goalkeeper Monty Marriott who has, once again been selected for the Wales Elite Training Squad
- Our Academy Education team including Steve Alman and Matt Jarvis who are on course to guiding every single one of our current scholars in exceeding their predicted education grades.
- U17s Goalkeeper Kie Plumley (pictured) who has signed scholarship forms with the club after a successful 6-week trial period.
- 19-year old winger Kyran Lofthouse who continues to impress on loan at Oxford City in the National League South scoring and assisting regularly as City fight for a play-off place.
- Academy Graduate Shandon Baptiste who has been nominated for goal of the month after his outstanding long range strike over the Christmas period.
- U21s Goalkeeper Max Harris who is balancing a degree programme in Sports Management at Hartpury College with playing here at United and also coaching in the Academy.
- Slavi Spasov who, after a long rehabilitation period, is now back on the grass training as he looks to build back to the form he showed whilst making his 1st Team debut as a 16 year old last season.
Finally I’d like to highlight again the important, upcoming conference being hosted here at Oxford United looking at Psychological support across football.
Any players, coaches, parents, fans or practitioners interested in this fantastically important part of player development and support will find the conference hugely valuable and can sign up at www.oxfordformula.co.uk
This one-day conference will see club psycho-therapist Gary Bloom, First Team Manager Karl Robinson and Academy Manager Dan Harris all presenting on their experiences around mental health support in football alongside input from practitioners who have worked across both the Premier League and a range of other sports.
Stay up to date with all things Academy by following the club’s official youth development twitter feed - @AcademyOUFC.