Foundation Elite and Development youth teams have Chelsea and Wycombe away days
The Foundation visited High Wycombe last week in order to play a tournament against League One Sport and Education Foundation side, Wycombe Wanderers and the Premier League's Chelsea Foundation Academy.
The Foundation sent under 8 to under 13 category teams to play football in Buckinghamshire and learn to play the Crawley way. Whilst there were plenty of wins and goals, the main objective was to engage the players in creativity, teamwork and club values, as Foundation Pathway Coordinator Ian Cobbett explained:
‘We took nearly a hundred players to Wycombe to face their Elite and Development squads and Chelsea Foundation teams. We worked on individual objectives in a team setting where the team had an objective and so did the individuals. We were trying to rotate the players; we were trying to teach them what it’s like to play for Crawley and to represent their local side. We were very impressed with the values the players kept the interactions the players had, the way they played, the smiles on their faces, and the respect the parents showed.’
On the first day there were a bundle of goals in the early games, with positive approach from the players, lots of passing, trust, and encouragement. After each set of games, the players collectively voted for their player of the day, a team decision that sums up the values of the programme. Under 8s right midfielder Jack Stephens voted for teammate Daniel that epitomises the objectives of the team saying, ‘I voted for Daniel because of his passing and his teamwork’.
Cobbett says that the programme’s success is down to learning and creativity saying himself and fellow Foundation coach, Jacob Magnus ‘are not managers but we are coaches, we give them the freedom to learn within a match and we try to keep things positive’. He explained where this came to fruition on day two:
'Everyone played in the right spirit, the right mentality and the under 12s specifically only had nine players for nine-a-side and worked their socks off. The way they demonstrated - not only their mentality - but their fitness and character. He talked of this positive approach in Player of the Day, goalkeeper Brodie Ryrie-Smith who played for the under 13s:
‘Player of the Day was Brodie Ryrie-smith for his positive mindset, unbelievable shot-stopping and distribution and he epitomises what it’s like to represent Crawley Town - his local club. When he made a mistake - which was very rare - he didn’t allow it to affect his performance or the team’s performance - he controlled and organised well.’
‘Today’s fixtures were great; the teams challenged us and gave a tough even game.
Playing for Crawley is an amazing experience, playing teams that can challenge us and give us a great game.’
All teams left the camp with smiles and new friends with much of the competition about learning, rather than winning and what an experience for them to have.