Here at Rotherham United, we strive to be the best we can be, and our Academy is eager to help develop footballers so that they have the ability and personality to make a career in the game. As a result of that, we are working very closely with the FA to enable us to enhance the knowledge of both our players and staff.
We were delighted to welcome Sally Needham who came in to put on a presentation to all of our foundation staff, covering the importance of the psychological and social corner of the FA’s ‘Four Corner Model’ and how our coaches can help the young lads flourish in that aspect of their development.
The feedback we received from our staff was excellent and they highlighted a lot of positive things that we already do within the Academy, but as always, we are constantly looking to improve further and she gave us some more ideas. Sally is now going to attend a number of the foundation phase training sessions to work directly with coaches and players alike, focusing on the key aspects of football progression within these areas.
Each individual training night will see Sally work with a different age group or coach to ensure that everyone gets to take what they can from her expertise, and I am very much looking forward to seeing how this relationship aids us moving forward.
On the footballing front, we continue to have more success in the foundation phase and our U11’s lifted the Community Cup recently, winning an impressive 11 games on their way to victory. To cap off a fine day the U11’s then dashed off to the AESSEAL New York Stadium to be flag bearers for the Millers’ Sky Bet League One clash against AFC Wimbledon.
Furthermore, our U10’s continued their incredible unbeaten run and they have now gone a full year without defeat, with a 23-game winning streak also being strung together along the way. The work that is going on within the foundation phase is of the highest quality. The standard of player we are now producing is exceptional and that will certainly bode well for the future. I have nothing but positive words to say about the work that Dave Atkinson and his team are doing – it is something that the club can be proud of.
Away from the foundation success, the U18’s are gearing themselves up for their Youth Alliance Cup final against Fleetwood Town. It is a fantastic achievement for everyone involved in the club and it just goes to show how far the Academy has progressed within the last 18 months to say that we are at this stage.
Going into the game we are underdogs and we are well aware that it will be a big task. Things have been made even more difficult now we are now likely to be without our two strikers, with Jacob Gratton suffering that unfortunate ACL injury and Jerome Greaves suffering concussion, but the lads will be giving their all to get a result.