Academy Manager Michael Hamilton’s monthly update includes news of a new member of staff and more about the introduction of Futsal to further enhance the technique of our young prospects.
Michael’s full monthly update is below:
We are delighted to welcome Deji Olorukoba-Oseni (pictured below) to AFC Wimbledon as our new Academy Administrator. Deji will work directly under Michael Cook (Operations Manager), working in cohesion with all departments within the academy to carry out administrative and operational tasks.
This month we’ve introduced Futsal into our programme, a method that we feel will see us further enhance the development of our young players.
Originating in South America, Futsal is played with a smaller, harder, low-bounce ball and places a huge emphasis on ball control and passing in small spaces, forcing players to display improvisation, creativity and technique. It has played a huge role in the development of players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as it is highly popular in South American / Latino countries.
Plans to bring futsal into the academy programme started almost two years ago, but it was halted due to the pandemic. What the time off enabled us to do was upskill and develop our staff with the sport, so we held numerous classroom sessions with Ian Parkes, the FA Futsal Lead Youth Developer and all our staff. The plan is for the boys to receive 12-15 sessions over the course of the season, and at some stage we will be looking to pit ourselves against other academies in futsal competitions.
The Under-18s finish September are currently top of the EFL Youth Alliance South East with a fine record of four victories and one draw. A lot of credit will rightly go to the boys who have transitioned into the full-time programme and stuck at the task of being better then yesterday. However, a special mention must go to all academy staff who have put the pieces in place, which accumulates to the table looking like it does.
We place a huge emphasis on focusing on the long-term development of individuals, which means in moments we will suffer somewhere in the short-term, whether that be results or performances. This season we have challenged ourselves by setting the long-term development of individuals as the priority, but with the results performances and not dropping. This means senior football experiences for the scholars, opportunities for the pre scholars to play above their age group with the Under-18s, and so on. It is early days yet, but it’s a strong start, which sets the tone for the season.