Did you know that the Beachboys have a flourishing youth set up with teams in all age groups. We sat down with the Head of the Youth department Cliff Larkin to find out more…
Cliff, when did you first get involved with the set-up?
I took over the youth side about three years ago, when we had just about six teams. We have in that time more than doubled in size running teams from under 7’s through to the under 18’s who play in the Eastern Junior Alliance. When I first got involved with the youth set up the idea was to pull everything together and get it running in the right way but we have exceeded where we thought we would be.
We now have at least one team at every age group. As a club we are striving towards offering a level of football for boys and girls of all levels of abilities with the elite being the attraction of being able to offer EJA football for teams from under 13’s and above. Over the last couple of years we have been approached by teams from other clubs to come to Concord and some we have taken to fill the gaps where we never had teams at these ages. Now as I’ve mentioned before we have teams at all ages and the future is looking very bright at Concord. However we now feel it’s time to develop even further and getting every age group up to at least two teams and in some cases three. That way there is a level for all abilities and with the right development these boys and girls they can push on.
Is there a push to get children younger than seven to play and enjoy football?
Well, we are starting our new tiny Tekkers program this week at Castle View school, were children as young as two can play. This gives them the opportunity to progress into a team when old enough, but most importantly they enjoy their football and play with smiles on their faces.
Does the youth set up have a designated home pitch?
Again when I first got involved we had our teams playing all over the place at various locations, but after a lot of hard work by John Smith he secured the new Castle View school where all our youth teams barring the under 18’s now play their football. It looks pretty impressive on a Sunday morning when you see all our teams over there playing, and we have had a lot of positive feedback from this.
Is the youth set up just about getting kids playing?
We don’t only stop at getting kids to play their football, we also help out the manager’s gain the coaching badges. We put them on FA level 1 & 2 courses and through Natalie Norris the club’s welfare officer she makes sure all coaches and managers have their safeguarding and first aid courses done.
What does the future of the youth set up look like?
Along with having all the kids we obviously have all the managers to look after and make sure they’re all happy, again through the current success over the past couple of years we are now looking to bring somebody in to look after just the football side of things like a Director of Football.
What would that role encompass?
It would be someone that can be there for the managers and coaches to lean on from time to time and help separate the kids into their own levels. We feel we have a duty to do this so they can develop better. So if there is anybody reading that would like to come and get involved, whether it be as manager, coach or even the Director of Football please get in touch with me.
Cliff was talking to Chris Clark.