Youth Development Phase coach James Edmonds gives us an update on how the return has been for the Youth Development Phase, recent U13-U16’s fixtures and results, updates on academy development centres and information on the annual EBB tournament!

Hear what the U13-U16’s coach had to say in full:

Q: How has the return of play been for the Youth Development Phase?

“Yeah, it’s been good. The boys have been really excited to get back so that’s a good start to it. The JPL (Junior Premier League) started on the 10th April so that’s when we started our official competitive games and the U13-U14’s have competed in that.

“It’s been good to get them back off of the remote learning that we did and get them back on the grass again, on the pitch. So, it’s been really good and exciting and fingers crossed we can stay like that for the remainder of this season then bounce back for the 2021/22 season.”

Q: For your return, was there anything you had to do differently this lockdown compared to the last lockdown?

“I would say it’s just making sure our policies were right again so to the standard of the FA (Football Association) guidelines in terms of handwashing and that kind of safety side with it.

“Yeah, we just wanted to get the boys back playing really so in terms of a coaching perspective, we wanted to get the intensity higher, get their knees back and then get them back playing and get the ball rolling nice and high so that they can enjoy it really and have these last three months of the season to really enjoy their football as well as develop as players.”

Q: How have the U13-U16s been getting on in their recent fixtures?

“It’s been a bit inconsistent as you would expect with them coming back but they’ve been brilliant and as Ross (McNeilly) said, we hosted QPR in the half-term so we’ve done really well and the boys have done really well.

“The U13s, U15s and U16s have done really well in those games and it was heavily competitive on our game against Eastleigh in a friendly as well. Yeah, as I’ve said on the bounceback in the JPL, they’ve competed well and that’s going to … into a cup competition and hopefully, fingers crossed we can get those age groups to the last stage of that.

“After that cup competition, we’ve got another cup competition that will end in June so loads of competitive fixtures and again, fingers crossed we can get some of the age groups into the latter stages of the competitions but also get the boys enjoying their competitive football again.”

Q: Are there any updates around the academy development centres?

“Yes, so in terms of the Youth Development Phase, our U13-U16s development centre is starting up this Friday. So the 23rd April is our first session and that will obviously lead through school term and it’s good to get that up and going.

“We’ve tried to get it up and going in November but then we went into that first lockdown so we had to stop it and then we wanted to get back up and running after Christmas but then again the lockdown hit us so hopefully, fingers crossed we can get some consistency back with that.

“That will be at Alderwood school, 5pm-6:30pm on Fridays so if you’re interested in that then get in touch with me and the links are on the website HERE. We’ve got our U7-U12’s development centres, one is at Tomlinscote School on a Monday and one at Alderwood School on a Tuesday.

“Also, we have an EBB tournament coming up in June so we can kind of touch on that and on Saturday 5th June, we’ve got an U9-U12’s 7-a-side tournament and on Sunday 6th June, the U13-U14’s are in a 7-a-side tournament and then the U15-U16’s have got an opportunity 11v11 on the EBB turf.

“So that’s a good opportunity for all grassroots clubs really to get involved in that and any private or professional academies that want to get in touch with us then they can contact Adam Maltby, you can find his information on our socials and websites so looking forward to the summer ahead and the end of the season.”

Q: Can you tell us some information around the EBB tournament that has been advertised?

“We’ve organised a tournament to be held at the EBB which is from age groups U9-U16’s. It’s on a Saturday and Sunday, 5th and 6th June. Yeah, it’s a small-sided tournament so the U9-U14’s is a 7-a-side tournament and then the U15-U16’s is a full size 11-a-side tournament so that should be good fun!

“Again, it’s on the 5th-6th June with the U13-U16s being on a Sunday and the U9-U12’s being on a Monday but the contact for that is Adam Maltby so if you want to email him and find out anything.

“Any grassroots club looking to play on the EBB turf and any private academies or anyone who just wants to get a team involved. Feel free to do so and get in touch with Adam.”


You can watch the full interview on the academy’s official YouTube channel HERE!