Amidst such an uncertain period it’s a good time to reflect on the season so far and the progress of the academy this year. Our Hitchin Town FC / Pro:Direct Academy have had some real successes this season.
Firstly, we have had five players of our current intake represent Hitchin Town first team and making their debuts. One of these was Kye Tearle who broke the previous record and became the youngest ever player to represent the club – an amazing achievement.
Along with this no fewer than 6 of our players were chosen to represent the Pro: Direct Eleven national Academy team against some of Europe’s footballing giants.
The Pro: Direct Eleven Academy team is chosen from all various academies throughout the country which means it is a real honour to be chosen. The fact that at least 10 professional contracts have been earned in the last 16 months alone will indicate the standard of this side. The team is managed by our own Hitchin Town FC / ProDirect Academy Manager Damon Lathrope.
The Pro: Direct Eleven Academy beat Arsenal under 17’s 3-2 at their new state of the art training complex. This was a massive achievement for our boys and the team. As you can imagine a lot of exposure was gained on the back of this game and it led to a fixture being arranged against Spurs under 17’s. But what made this even more special was that the game was played at the actual Wembley stadium under floodlights. What an opportunity this was for the team and they beat Spurs 1-0 with a late goal, much to the disappointment of their coach Matt Taylor.
The Pro:Direct Eleven squad have had great opportunities and played prestigious opponents. 6 of our boys have been involved in winning performances against academy teams from Stevenage, MK Dons, Barnet and more, as well as Arsenal and Spurs.
Huge progress and development has been made, both on and off the pitch this season and we congratulate all associated with the programme for a successful season that was unfortunately cut prematurely short. However, the boys have continued their studies via on-line tutoring by Matt Winch and they will be able to complete the course they started in September.
Damon and his staff have worked very hard to keep the boys engaged with individual training programmes, skill challenges and a virtual personal fitness & conditioning session with former Academy player Brodie Couzins.
The coaching team have also organised a number of question and answer sessions with a Hitchin link including interviews with former Academy players Kane Smith (Boreham Wood), Will Wright (Dagenham & Redbridge), Jamal Lowe (Wigan Athletic) who played for Hitchin Town’s first team whilst on loan from Barnet at the beginning of his career and Neil Ryan who is now the Manchester United Under 18’s coach.
Last week saw Premiership player and England U21 International Ben Wilmot answer questions posed by the Academy boys about his career to date and his time at Watford.
Other interviews are being arranged with other former Canaries including Ken Gillard (Arsenal U18’s Manager) and Darren Sarll (Yeovil Town 1st team Manager). It is also hoped in the near future to have one other current Premiership player and one former Premiership player both with International honours answer questions and share their career and experiences with the boys.
We have now come into the recruiting stage for next season. The circumstances are not ideal, but we will make sure any aspiring football player interested in joining PDA Hitchin are given the opportunity to talk to the staff.
The ever growing success stories must not stop. If you would like to be contacted, please leave your name, and any contact details on the following email firstname.lastname@example.org
A member of our staff will then be in contact.
Below is a link giving a quick overview of the footballing opportunities and what is to be expected here at PDA Hitchin > https://youtu.be/FKlVC7YLARw
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