College Academy can grow says coach
The AFC Wimbledon College Academy team resume their league campaign this afternoon at Hampton & Richmond Borough and coach Michael Hamilton is hoping that more promising youngsters can emerge during the rest of 2013/14.
Rob Switon and Nas Majeed both stepped up from Michael’s squad last season to play for Wimbledon Under-18s and Under-21s during the current campaign and this season’s college recruits have already shown their potential. Ian Smith has moved up to play in the Football League Youth Alliance for the Under-18s and Michael says that the rest of his crop has plenty of opportunity to follow in his footsteps.
Mark Robinson (Academy Manager) is a frequent supporter on a Wednesday and he has been impressed by the performances. Having Mark there is so important for the boys as it makes them want to do well and it offers encouragement that opportunities can be earned. Our second years have led by example and have given themselves a great chance to potentially step up to the scholars in the second half of the season. “We’ve had a very encouraging first half of the season with positive individual performances and the team has grown game by game,” said the Head of Wimbledon’s South Thames College Academy. “We’ve got a crop of exciting first year players who have adapted well in a demanding league, and they’ve shown immense potential for the future.
“We’ve already had Ian Smith step up this season to play for the scholars and I know that as long as the boys remain focused and continue to learn, then he won’t be the only one. The boys have come from various footballing backgrounds, including grassroots clubs and non league academies, but they have really bought into the philosophy and the information provided. We need to be more focused mentally as the boys come up against teams that play a direct style. These teams base their whole game plan on winning first and second balls. To counteract this, we’ve really worked on our fitness levels to ensure we do push forward and impose our style, but at the same time we must have the physical resources to get back and contest when needed.”
The Dons are currently sixth in the Football Conference Youth Alliance League with Tova Assaina and Jaszime Johnson topping their scoring charts with five goals each.
Michael says that his assistant Andrew May, Sam Pooley (Sports Scientist) and Hayley Archibald (physio) deserve a lot of credit for his team’s improvement this season.