Today marks the start of EFL Youth Development Week and after a season like no other, preparations are now underway for the 2021/22 academy season and the influx of new players beginning their SWFC scholarship.
Following a season of disruption at youth level, particularly for the younger age groups, for some, the season has been extended until the end of June.
Our Under-9s to Under-14s continue with their game programmes making up for lost time due to the pandemic and while that takes place, it’s a busy time for our academy staff who are putting plans in place for next season.
Head of Academy Education and Player Care Dan Potts gave swfc.co.uk an insight into the work undertaken in the academy at this stage of the close season.
“For most of our Youth Development, the season has been extended to the end of June,” Dan said.
“We are also in a transition period with some of our squads. Some players have been released and we support all players to help them on the next stage of their football journey, such as help finding a new club or trials with LFE/EFL.
“Many players, including our new scholars, current scholars and Under-23s are following a detailed, carefully planned off-season programme and are in regular contact with our sport scientists.
“Regarding the new scholars who will join us from next month, we have gathered academic information, predicted grades and comments from their schools which forms part of our induction and initial assessment when the players join us full time from July.
“We are looking forward to returning to face-to-face delivery on the education and Life Skills Programme which the new scholars will follow during their two-year apprenticeship.
“The aim is for them to achieve their maximum academic potential alongside training and playing. The educational programme has been specifically designed for elite athletes and is geared towards nationally recognised qualifications.”
In the coming weeks, swfc.co.uk will profile the next wave of academy scholars and Dan and the rest of the education team in the academy are looking forward to welcoming the youngsters.
On the programme, Dan continued: “Our Life Skills Programme aims to raise awareness and empower apprentices with knowledge and skills to deal with the demands of football, careers and life.
“Some examples of the life skills-based education provided through face to face delivery, online modules and resources include; equality and diversity, finance, identity, mental health, ramadan awareness, social media, well-being and safer driving.
“We are really looking forward to introducing and welcoming our new scholars in July.”