Hollington United manager Scott Price says there’s been ‘unbelievable’ interest in the football club’s rapidly expanding youth section.
The Gibbons Field-based outfit will be running youth teams in a number of age groups next season as the club continues to go from strength to strength.
Price said: “It’s coming along a lot better than anticipated. To be honest I thought we’ll see how it goes, but we’ve had so much interest it’s unbelievable.
“It’s moving on, I don’t want to say too fast, but the club’s getting stronger and stronger every day.”
At the start of the 2017/18 season the club introduced under-16, under-18 and under-21 squads, and players from all three teams have represented Hollington’s two adult sides.
Hastings Town Youth will come under the umbrella of Hollington United next term, and the club will have teams in the under-7, under-8, under-9, under-13, under-16 and under-18 age groups, and possibly two sides in the younger age groups.
Hollington are hoping to develop the youth section further in time and hopefully field teams in all age groups.
Grant Wenham, formerly of Hastings Town Youth, has taken over the running of the youth section, with Price overseeing things and set to do a lot of coaching with the young players.
Both said that Hollington’s successful adult set-up offers young players somewhere to go once their time in youth football ends.
Hollington’s first team completed a Macron East Sussex Football League Premier Division and Hastings & District FA Intermediate Cup double during the 2017/18 season, and will compete in the Mid Sussex Football League Premier Division next term.
Wenham said: “(At Hastings Town Youth) We were finding it extremely hard to keep players in the older age groups - we were losing them to other clubs.
“With the success of the (Hollington) men’s team, it seems a great place to be and we can provide a pathway for the boys to proceed into men’s football.
“The main objective is to get the youth teams set up and playing the right type of football, and making sure that progression happens.
“We’re a community club, we’re not being selective of players and we’re open to all abilities. We want to ensure every child has somewhere to play football.
“Youth football has declined massively over the years, but by being part of Hollington’s success, I think it’s going to give us every opportunity to thrive once again.”
The club will be holding free open days for youth players at its Wishingtree Road base this coming Saturday and Saturday June 16.
Under-7s to under-13s will be first up from 9-10.30am and under-14s to under-18s will follow from 10.30am-12noon. Anybody interested can just turn up on the day.
Hollington are also starting a ladies’ team, which Price says will be ‘massive for us for what we want to do in the future’. The ladies train at Gibbons Field from 7-8pm on Wednesdays and are hoping to play in the Sussex County Women & Girls’ League next season.
“I’m trying to make the club a football club,” added Price. “We’ve got so many people behind us, my phone rings every day.”
Anybody interested in finding out more about the club or getting involved can contact Scott Price on 07895 705273.
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