This was a great day and I want to say thank you to all the fans for the fantastic reception you gave our young players as they took the field and completed a lap of honour.
Within the Academy, we are always looking to develop and strengthen the programme, and over recent months, have introduced one focused around goalkeeping.
The response from players across all our age groups has been fantastic, and the levels of development which have been displayed by our academy stoppers has definitely improved thanks to the module.
Travis Wood, our Lead Academy Goalkeeping Coach, has worked hard to increase their contact time, offering workshops and holding mixed age group training days for those we are developing between the sticks.
The new goalkeeper initiatives have provided opportunities for the boys to learn and socialise with each other, highlighting a real union we seem to have here at the club throughout our youth setup.
It’s been great to see Redman Evans, our Youth Team Goalkeeping Coach, working hard with young players in training and we’re already seeing the fruits of this.
The players are really enjoying it with smiles on their faces, and the future looks great for the club as we look to prepare these talented boys for the senior side in years to come.
Off the field the boys regularly reflect on their performances in both training and games.
Our young stoppers receive feedback through ‘life of a goalkeeper blogs’ and our tailoredacademy Goalkeeper SPOND group – which is a social platform we have setup, similar to that of Whatsapp which enables consistent communication.
Even though they’re young, they show real maturity with their learning and their appreciation for each other, which is incredibly humbling to see as coaches.
Producing good human beings as well as talented players is always at the centre of everything we do here.
Moving forward, I am excited to see where the program will go with Travis helping theboys to continue their developmental journey with a creative and holistic approach.
This season, we have challenged a lot of our youth team players with loan moves to give them valuable minutes in varying different environments and levels.
This opportunity allows them to add to their footballing journey by experiencing men’s football from step six up to three within the non-league pyramid.
Playing in non-league allows players to create a footballing CV for themselves, gain important game time and battle it out for three points week in and week out.
One player who has used this approach positively is midfielder Anton Dworzak, who went to Highworth before making his first-team league debut away at Barrow.
This season we have had numerous players out on short term deals, and currently have nine plying their trade elsewhere temporarily to aid their continued growth.
Josh Bryan and Jed Afenyo are at Fairford Town, while Ben Boulden and Harvey Fox are playing at Highworth.
Young Sonny Hart has been making waves at Harrow Borough, with both Shyam Taank and Tom Wynn-Davis making immediate impacts at Wantage Town.
Elsewhere, Alex Bell has been racking up the minutes at Shortwood United and Sami Kearn doing likewise at Cirencester Town Development.
If Swindon Town are playing away and you can’t get a ticket but still need that all-important football fix, it would be great if you could support the boys playing at any of their respective loan clubs, and we know how much it means to them.