Throughout Youth Development week, we are taking a look at some of the most engaging stories to emerge from our academy at Hillsborough.
Yesterday swfc.co.uk spoke in depth to Liam Palmer, a product of the Owls’ academy with over 200 appearances under the belt.
Today we focus on another product of the SWFC youth system, Joe Wildsmith – who was this week nominated by the club as our PFA Community Player of the Year for 2019.
The award recognises the invaluable work carried out in the local community by the nominated player and Wildsmith is a worthy recipient.
On the pitch, Wildsmith has featured for the Owls on 48 occasions while becoming a true ambassador for the academy and community departments off it, regularly giving up his time for both.
A case in point was back in the summer, a month before the players were due to report for pre-season.
But Wildsmith was more than happy to give up his time to come into the club and meet 40 aspiring young goalkeepers at Middlewood Road.
The native Sheffielder cut short his off-season time to attend the session, run alongside the regular Owls Soccer Camps.
Wildsmith joined the club’s community coaches to give some goalkeeping tips, as well as taking part in a Q&A with the next generation of local goalkeepers.
He recalled: “About 40 goalkeepers turned up so obviously it’s a great turnout and it’s good for all of them to come in and have a bit of fun while they are off school.
“It’s a pleasure to come down and offer some advice and help, and to have a laugh with the kids.
“Two days out of my summer is not a burden for me at all, it’s a pleasure.”
He added: “When I was really young my mum and dad brought me down to a couple of the camps and I remember being in the dome with loads of other kids.
“I’m happy to come and help and show my face to these kids who are having fun at the training ground.
“It’s not out of any of their hands to get playing at a really good level, being in and around the club can help make that happen.
“I just want to give something back because the club has helped me a lot over the years, so to go down and help out is not a problem for me at all.”