Exmouth Town latest - ‘A review of the past season – and what’s ahead’ for the youth section

PUBLISHED: 11:42 24 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:42 24 April 2020

Exmouth Town Under-12s in the 2019/20 season. Picture: ETFC

Exmouth Town Under-12s in the 2019/20 season. Picture: ETFC


Continuing our review of all things Exmouth Town we now link up with the club’s youth co-ordinator, Nick James.

Exmouth Town Under-16s. Picture: ETFCExmouth Town Under-16s. Picture: ETFC

Nick says: “This season has been another of continued development and growth across all our teams and it has given us the impetus to add further teams to our section.”

He added: “This past season saw the emergence of two more youth teams at Town.

UEFA licenced coach Drew Worthington joined us with his Under-16s team while Mark Upcott set up what is currently the youngest age group we have which is the Under-8s and that meant we had four youth age groups representing Exmouth Town.”

The Exmouth Town UNder-14 team ahead of their recent Devon County Cup tie against Barnstaple outfit Eastside. Picture ETFCThe Exmouth Town UNder-14 team ahead of their recent Devon County Cup tie against Barnstaple outfit Eastside. Picture ETFC

Nick then turned his attention to the individual age groups. He began with the U16s saying: The Under-16s had a most successful and, when the season came to a premature end with the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, only Alphington sat above them in the Exeter and District Youth League table.”

“During the season a number of our Under-16s were able to step up and play in the Town U18s team.

“Brad and Billy Worthington along with Harry Bennett and Thomas King all made the step-up with young Bennett impressing with four goals in as many outings for the U18s to go with his 15 goals in 13 games for the Under-16s.

Exmouth Town Under-8s during the 2019/20 season that was brought to an early end by the Covid-19 crisis. Picture: EXMOUTH TOWN FCExmouth Town Under-8s during the 2019/20 season that was brought to an early end by the Covid-19 crisis. Picture: EXMOUTH TOWN FC

“We have high hopes for this young man and look forward to his progression at the club.”

He continued: “This is a pathway we ae keen to continue within the structure of the club’s youth programme and I am very confident that we will see more youngsters step up through the age groups to eventually grace the Southern Road turf in the Town first team.

“We want to give young players a chance to play up a year group from time to time, to challenge their ability.

“Another good example of this is Ethan Beverley who has pushed on to play for the Under-16s and he has come through with flying colours and next season he faces a similar challenge as he’ll be playing for our new Under-16s as well as the Town Under-18s.”

Speaking about the Town U18s, Nick says: “Both Drew [Worthington] and current Under-18 coach Tom Prout are set to team up next season and continue to build on the good work that’s been done over the last two years.”

He continued: “Next season’s Under-16s are in the process of being put together.

“Drew will be over seeing this and will be assisted by James Beverley and Wayne Rowsell in running this.

“The aim here is to make a clear bridge and pathway for our emerging talent so there is a clear progressive path, for the 16s moving towards into 18s and then into adult football.

“This is going to be a very exciting time for the club, because no one has really done this before.

“It’s something that not many clubs do, but again, it’s an opportunity for talented players to put themselves in the shop window to play for the 18’s and then hopefully on to Western League football to show case their skills.”

Nick then turned his attention to the Under-14s of whom he said: “Our Under-14s had a mixed bag of results last season. In patches they dished up some fantastic football, but, on the flip side of that, when they had an off day – they had an off-day!”

He continued: “To be fair, in terms of this age group it is all very much about a learning curve – and a steep one too - for these youngsters.

“With this age group we have also given opportunities to three of the players who would normally be found playing in the age group below.

“Mac Haywood-Newlands, Oli Bennett and Billie Rowsell have all shown they can compete in the age group up. Young Rowsell netted seven goals in as many starts to top the teams’ goal scoring charts, finishing just ahead of Will Lucas, who is another young player we have high hopes for.

“Bennett and Newlands scored twice each at the higher level, the latter also finding himself as captain for a couple of fixtures!

“Also in this age group, Brad Upcott and Bradley Cameron have played well all season. Cameron has brought in an edge that we didn’t have before from set pieces so that been a massive bonus for us in this age group and that he can cover so many positions is a real bonus for us.”

Next, Nick turned his attention to the Under-12s saying: “This age group, looked after by Nick Badger and Mathieu Peligry, had a good season. They finished mid-table in terms of league position, but they did suffer more than most with the wet weather we endured and they lost almost three months of playing time because of the rain!

“Indeed it is a case of full credit to the coaches and parents that they kept going with such hold-ups in their season!

“Taylor Chidgey topped their goal charts, netting six times in eight outings.

“The U12s is an age group that is always a difficult one as it’s the first year in which these young players make the step up into paying league football and that can be quite a daunting prospect at that tender age.

“However, our team seems to navigated such potentially troubled waters really well!

“Frazer Southwood, Barney Badger, Jack Colvin and Charlie McFarlane moved positions which players need to do sometimes and acquitted themselves well and we’ll be watching this teams development with interest in the coming seasons.”

The Town head of youth then turned his attention to the Under-8s saying: “This was a first year out for our youngest age group with Mark Upcott and Steve Hunt combining to run the Under-8s and this has undoubtedly been a massive success!

“We’ve never run a team so young at the club and they have been such a welcome and refreshing addition to the club.

“They’ve worked really hard this year and for them results aren’t really important, yes everyone likes to win, but for us it improving their personal technical ability, playing as a team and most importantly, it’s very much, at this age group, about having fun!

“I did one of the first training sessions with the coaches and I was struck by how much they all just smiled as they played.

“We can’t name names because of their age, but, suffice to say that I am really proud of the coaches, players and parents of this group. They’ve been fantastic on and off the pitch and become a great advert for the club.”

Nick added as a footnote to the past season: “In line with what I have already mentioned about giving players opportunities. I might also add that three of our Under-14 players; Brad Upcott, Charlie James and Mac Haywood-Newlands, together with two of our Under-8 team also spent time at the Plymouth Argyle’s Centre of Excellence in Exeter.

“They were invited after attending the trials held in September and it’s a link that were hoping will continue in years to come.

“The obvious benefits are that the young players get additional time with professional coaches and we’ve really noticed an improvement in their game. “We’re hoping to push more players that way throughout our age groups.”

The Town head of youth then turned his attention to the way ahead for the club’s youth section.

He says: “I’ve mentioned we’ve another Under-16 team launching this coming season, but I am also delighted to be able to announce that we are also set to run two other youth teams in the shape of an Under-12 and an Under-14 team which will take us t a total number of seven teams in the Exmouth Town youth section.

“We’ll be welcoming Aaron as coach of our Under-12s and Martin as coach of the new Under-14s.

“Drew and I have worked with both of these coaches before and it is going to fantastic to be linking up again at Exmouth Town.

“Aaron has had great success this season with his current team so I’m really looking forward to seeing him grow and push on this season. Martin works with L&F and does football coaching with them so it’s fantastic to have him on board with the club.”

He continued: “We’re working with Plymouth Argyle Centre Excellence again this coming season.

“At the moment I’m trying secure nights that our coaches can attend extra development training at the Centre and we hope to take our teams up there once a quarter to play matches against Centres age groups.

“We are also hoping to do something similar with Exeter City and Torquay United in the older age groups.

“We are also exploring launching a ‘Tony Tots’ session for five- and six-year-olds and I hope to be able to announce more on this in the near future.”

Nick rounded things of saying: “There is one more change that I am so pleased to be able to announce and that is that we have been able to secure the services of Neil Saunders as our FA mentor.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to link up with Neil who has a wealth of experience to offer young coaches and yet again shows the strides that the club are making to bring out the best of the coaches at the club which in turn can only have a positive effect on the youth players.

“Neil is also the current Under-16 Coach for Devon and works at Exeter College so he will give us an invaluable insight into coaching at this level and help us get the players ready for under 18 and senior football.

“I think it’s fair to say that these are exciting times at Exmouth Town’ s youth section with the club offering a number of opportunities to players and coaches at the club to fulfil their potential.

“If any players or coaches would be interested in joining up with one of our teams, or starting a new one you can contact me through our Facebook group Exmouth Town Youth or contact myself via my email exmouthtownyouth@gmail.com

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