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End-of-season academy round-up

10 May 2022


End-of-season academy round-up

10 May 2022

As 2021-22 draws to a close, academy manager Tony Daws has rounded up the season.

It's been a campaign that has seen professional contracts signed by second year trainees Harry Lewis, Jack Moore-Billam and Ethan Young, plus first year scholar Owen Foster.

Daws told "We've seen a number of players graduating up into the first team and their development is on-going. We are fortunate in that we have a manager in Keith who really believes in the academy system and in youth development, as he proved previously at Rochdale, and that is very encouraging for the academy going forward."

Daws continued: "Overall, it's been a really good season for the academy, with the FA Youth Cup run (which saw Shrewsbury Town and Guiseley beaten before a third-round trip to Manchester United, where the club’s youth team were beaten 4-2 at Old Trafford).

"Youth team players have been involved with the first team squads and this has enabled us to play Under-16 and Under-15 players in the Under-18s youth team which has been great for their development. Being able to blood the younger players into the youth team has always been part of our long-term player development plan. There are many more good, young players right through each of the academy schoolboy age groups."

He added: "I want to thank the club and it’s staff, the full-time academy staff and the part-time coaches that coach our young players at night and on Sundays as they are so important in helping to support our football club as we strive to develop our own players. It's a big group effort. Just as an example, so many people will have played a part in Dan Gallimore and Harvey Cribb's journey of development, with both players being with us from Under-8 level. Dan has been at the club for 12 seasons and he’s only Under-19s age group now.

"I would also like to thank our admin and support staff, and give particular thanks to our medical staff for providing such excellent care and support to all of the academy players Under-8 to Under-18 throughout the season.

"I would like to mention the parents of our academy players and thank them for all of their time and efforts in getting the boys to training and games all season. It is a massive commitment on the parents’ behalf, we realise that it can be difficult at times as they have work and other family commitments to juggle and so we thank them most sincerely.  

"Finally, I'd like to thank Headteacher Phill Dalowsky and his staff at St Lawrence Academy, as they’ve been really supportive of our academy once again this season."

Although four players have been offered professional contracts recently, unfortunately four have had to leave at the end of their two-year scholarship too.

Daws said: "I just want to thank second year scholars Jake Balme, Oliver Lobley, Jamie Moore and Ben Franklin on behalf of myself and the staff for their efforts while with us and wish them all the best going forward.

"It's heartbreaking to see players released at the end of their scholarship because they're all genuinely good lads, but they know and they are told when entering onto the scholarship programme that they're not all going to make it. They've given everything that they can over the last two seasons. Their exit strategy is good though because they have options elsewhere and a couple of them will be going to America on fully-funded football scholarships for four years, for example."

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