Sidmouth Town - the rise and rise of the youth team players
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth Football Club Under-16s reached the end of a long road at the conclusion of the last football season.
However, it does beg the question: ‘The end of an era or perhaps a new beginning?:.
In 2004 a cluster of then five-year-olds started their football careers through junior soccer at Sidmouth Sports Centre.
Eleven years later the players leave youth football as the most successful Sidmouth side ever!
During that period the side won three league titles, were runners-up on five occasions, played in two Devon Cup and three West Country Cup, finals as well as winning many cups including the East Devon Cup and the Exeter and District League Cup.
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The most notable performances were victories in tournaments against Millwall, Bristol Rovers, Torquay, Charlton, and Gillingham and draws against the academy sides of Brentford and Oxford.
Indeed, only a narrow defeat to Wycombe denied the team a place in a national final at Wembley.
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In 2007 the side played their first competitive matches. Their first four games ended in 301, 4-0, 8-0 and 16-0 defeats!
However, this was not to prove indicative of the side’s future. In the year 2000 the side played 48 matches, winning then all, part of a winning streak spreading across over 60 matches and two season’s.
Five of this particular squad progressed on to play for Exeter City’s Centre of Excellence.
In the past season three players made the Devon squad and a further three have secured places in the Exeter College Football Academy.
But the real success has seen the transition of the players into men’s football. Ten players have already appeared for Sidmouth, six making appearances for Sidmouth’s first team.
Coach Jon Miller says: It’s so good that Sidmouth Town first team manager Josh Stunell is an advocate of giving youth a chance. He clearly recognises the potential in the young players. He gives them opportunity through the mind-set of, ‘if you are good enough, you are old enough’. The greatest example of this is Jamie Newbery, fresh from the Under-16s and yet he became a regular name in the starting line-up for Josh’s side last season.”
Fellow youth coach Paul Newbery adds: “The Under-16s squad have been a pleasure to be involved with. The attitude, discipline, talent and desire throughout the squad has been outstanding. And with an ambitious main club and a forward thinking first team coach the boys have every opportunity to develop further within the Sidmouth Town set up.”