Mark Bonner keeps you up to date with all things academy!
LAST weekend saw the beginning of the Youth Alliance League, the league within which Cambridge United Under 18s will be competing. The South East Division consists of 13 teams and runs until the middle of January, at with point the final standings are confirmed, and the top half of the league merge with the top half of the South West Division to form a new merit league until the season end. The same format will apply to those finishing outside the top six.
With an uneven number of teams in the league, we were the team without a fixture last week and so used the week to continue our preparations for the new season.
Pre-season has been its usual busy self, especially this season with some exciting changes and additions to the team in line with EPPP criteria. As previously introduced, Tom Donati has been hard at work with our scholars over the past month to implement our new coaching curriculum and syllabus in training. Last weekend we played Colchester United in our final preparation game having previously played Leyton Orient, Slovan Liberec and Mlada Boleslav. The latter games took place in our training week in Hermanice, Czech Republic. This training camp has become an annual addition to the calendar and provides us with the perfect environment to work and integrate the new players in to the group.
Over the coming weeks I will keep you updated on the progress being made through EPPP, the demands the audit process places on us, the requirements of the programme and of course the development of our scholars within the new season.
Tomorrow sees the beginning of the Youth Alliance League for those boys, away to Dagenham & Redbridge. Having played within the non league pyramid with our scholars over the past eight seasons, this is a huge change that would have been implemented regardless of the outcome of the first team season last year, it will provide a challenging games programme technically and tactically and will be full of players in the same situation as ours. Young, hungry, fit and well trained.
Each club will have their own way of doing things, their own way of working, their own development strategy, but the opportunity is the same for all. The process of working at your best every day and being committed to learning should clearly be evident in all of our young players. The games programme may begin tomorrow, but the process started five weeks ago. Most of the work and development goes on when no one is watching.
We look forward to a new era and will keep you updated every step of the way.