New Ketton manager Rob Ward believes the only way to make Ketton a force in local football for years to come is to invest in bringing through young players.
He is looking to give players between the ages of 16 to 21 their first taste of senior football.
Ward said: “I have spent the last four years working as Head of Development at a grassroots club in Hertfordshire and found the biggest challenge was getting youth players into senior football as it’s a tough step for young players and there are not a lot of opportunities for them to do this due to the pressures of senior football.
“Since joining Ketton I have come across a similar situation with an ageing squad and few youngsters coming through the ranks.
“I am actively looking to encourage younger players to come to Ketton and we will help give them an opportunity to make that difficult step into senior football.
“We have already successfully bought one of our own u18 players into the squad and he is already flourishing.”
Lewis Morley, who was hugely influential in the win on Saturday, is the young player who has broken into the first team and is making his mark. Sam Austin, who plays for the club’s under 18s side in the Peterborough and District Youth League is also breaking into the senior side, making his first start for the reserves on Saturday in their 1-0 won over Netherton United Reserves in the PFA Challenge Cup.
The club have a decent record of young players coming through the youth teams to play for the seniors including: Will Bird, Calum Betts, Mat Bird, Kieran Fitzgerald, James Cracknell, Charlie Hempsall and Tom Goodlife. However Ward wants to make sure this continues, develops and the players continue to play football.
The club have already started advertising on social media to encourage youngsters to consider Ketton when making the step up to senior football.
Ward has had success in bringing through young players and he is hoping to transfer that experience to his new Rutland club.
Ward said: “I managed a successful u21 team last year, that group of 16 players has seen four of them playing UCL equivalent football this year, 10 players playing PDFL equivalent this year and unfortunately two players who have stopped playing Saturday football but are still playing Sunday football.”
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