- Under 21's PDS
28 November 2023
Academy manager Steve Baker gives us his half season report…
Time flies as we find ourselves half way through another season already! Its been a busy few months starting with the pre-season and enrolments whilst the scholars are now well into the academic year and progressing with their Level 3 BTEC Diplomas. On the pitch we’ve completed roughly half our FCYA league fixtures and had runs in both the FA Youth Cup and FCYA League Cup.
Some highlights for me have been the fantastic comeback and spirit in the FA Youth Cup game at Hayes Lane v Tooting & Mitcham, it really was a proper end to end cup tie and we also seem to have such exciting games in the competition under the floodlights at Hayes Lane. We were just disappointed with the following round at Dulwich Hamlet, they’re a very good side but we felt we could of brought more to the table that evening.
Another highlight has to be the involvement/debuts that some of the academy lads have had with the first team, its fantastic that Mark, Neil and the team have given the lads the opportunity, its great experience for them and can really contribute to their development. A few of our lads who completed last year have been regularly involved training and been in the first team squad for Kent Senior Cup games; Jordan Higgs, Thomas O’Conner, Conal O’Leary, Billy Carter and Theo Newton have all been involved. Then three of our current scholars have also made debuts, Michak Stanic-Stewart made his debut in the 2-0 win at Dover in the Kent Senior Cup, Michak came off the bench to play around 70 minutes at right back and had a very good game, he has also been around other match day squads, In the same game first year scholar Fidan Fedji came on at half time at just 16 years old, Fidan was involved in the move that led to the second Bromley goal and in the same game winger Kelvin Ogboe was on the bench too. Finally academy forward Daniel Ajakaiye is having a superb season to date, Daniel was called up to travel to Guiseley for the recent Conference National fixture, he came off the bench for the last 15 minutes to make his debut and had a really positive impact. On these pages you’ll be able to read an article that Daniel has written on his experience making his first team debut.
In the FCYA league both teams have completed around half of their fixtures and are progressing well but there’s still plenty of work to be done and room for further progression. The Bromley Blues are doing quite well in a very tough regional league that includes some strong teams. They currently sit 5th in the table and most importantly are developing as individuals and a team. The last couple of games has seen a bit of a struggle with injuries and a few individual errors/wrong decision making have seen us concede some goals that we haven’t before. I think the breaks come at a good time for the squad before they kick on again in the new year. A mention to Daniel Ajakaiye who has scored 14 goals in 13 games to date for the academy. The Bromley Whites (our predominantly younger academy side) have done well, currently sitting in 3rd place and competing well – playing regularly against older players in what is of course an U19’s FCYA league. They are currently the second highest scorers in the league with Trey Small scoring 11 and Andy Kabuiku-Somo 8. With half a seasons experience now under their belts the squad will now need to work hard and progress in the new year to put themselves in the best possible place for a second academy year. As a squad there have been a few too many goals conceded so this is something we’ll focus on with them as a group in the new year.
Individually all of the scholars have just received their mid-season reviews, whilst time consuming these are so valuable to the scholars as it confirms where they are at this stage in their development and sets key targets for the second half of the season. Those who are really focussed will use these to accelerate their progression in the new year. We also hold a Parents/Scholars evening in January where the lads and their parents/guardians can come in and discuss progress both in the classroom and on the pitch and their pathway on competition of their time at the academy.
Also our recruitment is already underway for the 2016/17 season and academic year, initially watching games and holding Invitational trials in January, theres constantly things to work towards, so never a dull moment!
Finally we’ve also been really pleased to welcome Max Porter to the academy coaching team, Max is helping out one day a week and his knowledge and experience of the game is fantastic for the academy lads to learn from,. Having a first team player in there for the lads to look up to is ideal.
I’d like to congratulate all the academy scholars on their efforts to date and thank all the coaching/teaching staff for their hard work.
Finally everyone at the academy would like to wish all at the club including the Bromley fans a very Happy New Year and a successful 2016.