The club's Football Development Officer Maurice Hopkins has been speaking to the Western Gazette about plans for the coming season, and beyond. Grumbles have rumbled on for years about whether Yeovil Town was more aspirational talk than action when it came to its youth policy. Now things seem to be on the move :
During 2007-08 we are going to have two centres - one in Yeovil and one in Taunton - which will be like centres of excellence. We will have squads from Under-Nines up to Under-Fifteens. The Under-Fifteens will get a good two year run before they join the U18 team and we will take it from there.
As far as the forthcoming season is concerned we are going to start off by building strong foundations. We will start off slowly and gradually build into the programme. We will be following the same programme as a centre of excellence but we will not have one of those at first.
The chairman has dipped his toe into the water on the youth system front, but we need to be sure that it is the right way to be going. So we are not going to be boom and bust. We are trying to make sure that the infrastructure and networking of people we have got is big enough to push forward. At the moment we are want to do the walking before we do the running but we do want this to grow. It is going to be big anyway but we want to make sure it gets bigger and stronger as time goes by.
Hopkins was bullish about the future and the seriousness of the club's commitment :
It is history for the club because it is the first time they have had a proper set-up below Under-Sixteen level. I do not think we can yet use 'Centre of Excellence' or 'Academy' to describe us but they are only words. In my eyes it will be as big as either of those anyway.
We have got about 230 kids within the system. We have probably tried about 800-1,000 people since April. We have been selective and it is not a case of 'anyone can come along'. We have held trials or people have been scouted for the system. We hope we will be able to produce players for the Reserves, First Team and U18s.
It is great for the kids in the area. I have been involved with Schools District and County football for a long time. In the past everybody has come into our county and taken away players. It is now our turn to start pushing those clubs out of the Yeovil area and the county. We will start looking after our own and push them up through the Yeovil ranks rather than Southampton's, Plymouth Argyle's and Bristol City's.
We will be playing Swansea City and Plymouth and will be touring Liverpool - Everton and Tranmere - next month as well as playing Wigan Athletic. It is too easy to look back and say 'What if we had had this sooner?'. We have just got to look forward and that is my philosophy. I have got good friends at Ivel Barbarians RFC. Chris Heal [Head Coach] and I talk a lot about youth in the area and about how it should be progressed. I hope that is what we are going to be doing now at Yeovil Town.
Sounds promising, but everyone, especially those putting in the funding, has to be patient. A youth policy comes to fruition some ways down the road, and the results are long term not immediate.
Comment on this News Item on Facebook
or Go back to Top of Page