Youth Development Week | U18 – Coaches catch-up


With the U18 team made up of many young Bluebirds who have developed under the tutelage of the Academy for nearly a decade, the pair discussed the importance of continued development throughout the duration of the scholarship program:

E: “A lot of the current squad have been here for a very long time, with most having joined as young as 7 or 8, so I feel privileged to be able to work with the players now on a daily basis at U18 level. here for a long time which has allowed me to see the majority of the guys develop from the very early stages of the foundation phase to now progressing into the U18 squad.As an academy we put a lot of emphasis on focus on developing our own, so I think it’s rewarding to see the guys move into a full-time fellowship, and I think that’s something a lot of people can be proud of. academy is a big part of a youngster’s life, so spending so much time here has also allowed the players to develop close relationships with each other.We think it’s given the boys a positive head start in their scholarship and we have also focused on the c team cohesion and the development of players so that they become good teammates as well as good players.

SJ: “We try to get to know the guys as people as well as the players, understanding them as individuals. We all have different abilities, but it’s essential to give everyone their time and focus on the players as individuals.

E: “Young players of course develop at different rates, and it’s up to us to determine when it’s best to challenge them, as well as when to provide more support if needed. The scholarship process is full of ups and downs. there are setbacks like injuries or you may have times when you are in and out of a team, there may be times when you even step up to compete at a higher level with the U21 team.

SJ: “The stock market is really tough. From the work done on the grass to the education that is given on Wednesdays. Their only real days off are Sundays, and when it can be tough, we make sure we’re there to support them.


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