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Holland Tour Diary: Day One

26 March 2013

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THREE of Town's youth teams are in Holland this week and Academy Manager Jeremy Newton will be providing the official site with updates. Here is the entry for day one:

On Sunday 24th March, the Swindon Town U10s, U11s, and U12s made the trip to Utrecht in Holland for a week of team bonding and to play five games in four days. 

The trip is the third time we have been away and it’s vital for the lads and their long term development at Swindon Town. The idea of the trip is to cover the ‘Four Corners’:  the Social, Technical, Tactical and Psychological aspects of their development. 

Socially: to mix with the players in their current age group and meet other players in the same age groups, as well as getting to know other members of staff. Technically and Tactically: playing against European players and their systems and styles. The last element is physiological: being away from home with no parents the lads have to look after themselves, preparing and being professional players. 

The players will have games against De Graafschap, Gravenzande, Den Haag, SPD USA, PSV Eindhoven and FC Emma. The week will be very intensive, both physically and mentally. We have 10 members of staff on the trip along with two sports therapists, a kit and equipment manager, a Match Analyst and a Child Welfare officer as well as the STFC coaches. 

All the players will train together and eat together. They will prepare for the games with pre-match meals, travel to games on coaches and will have rest periods before games to try and educate the players to become like professionals. Hopefully in years to come, it becomes important to their development.

The first game kicked off against FC De Graafschap with the U12s playing 11v11. The U10s/U11s had three teams and played 9v9. The U12s won 4-1 thanks to two goals from U11 Levi Irving, one from Oscar Webster, and one from Connor Hibbs. The game was filmed by our analyst Mike Haynes and the players watched the game back to enhance their learning. This will be a valuable tool for the Academy and we hope it will be a huge benefit to the players and the staff. We will utilise it throughout the week with all the age groups having their games filmed. 

The U10s/U11s mixed side eventually lost 4-2, with Town’s goals coming from Rhys Wells and Miles Littlechild. It was a pleasing performance. It was important that we rotated the players around and, with a lot of games scheduled, it’s important that we had no injuries.

We go again in tonight’s games. Tonight we will take part in a mini tournament with FC Gravenzande, Den Haag and SPD USA. They will be tough games but all the players are looking forward to the challenge.

You can read more from Jeremy Newton later in the week, right here on the official website.

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