Football Academy Update – How to help your child handle rejection
The football season soon ends, what is everyone going to do? What are we going to do with every weekend! Here is an update on where Dylan and Josh are at. The last time I wrote, we didn’t know about Josh’s academy future.
Dylan, aged 10
Dylan, my eldest is currently in the Cambridge United U10 Academy squad. Although most weeks he plays up a year with the U11 squad and plays games on a Sunday with training 3-4 times each week. Plus, he plays for Stevenage U11 district team with games on a Saturday. His football diary is extremely busy, he and we his parents are super committed to it.
May 2018, sees the last few games being played, I think we have one more game after today against Derby. Then Dylan goes off on his third tour this season to Germany again in early June. We then get a total break for around 5-6 weeks.
Just a little 3 hour drive to Dylan’s opponents today. Mostest happy to report that the amazing U10 Cambridge academy boys smashed Liverpool 15-3. These boys are on fire they have recently beaten Tottenham, Norwich, Stoke and now Liverpool. So many top tier teams. A very special squad of boys playing at such a top level. #gratitude this weekend to the coaches who are fab with Dylan and Josh #3positivethings 1) beyond proud of my super boys at football on Saturday for Josh and Sunday for Dylan. 2) loving the new xfactor. #sorrynotsorry 3) had a great half term doing so much fun stuff with the boys . . . . . . . . #liverpool #liverpoolfc #lfc #cambridgeunitedacademy #cambridgeunitedfootball #cuyd #academyfootball #youthfootball #lawofattraction #loa #gratitude #dailygratitude #thankful #positivity #lawofattractionquote #moneysaving #frugal #ukblogger #ukbloggerlife #ukmoneyblogger #bloggingyourwaytoriches #youllneverwalkalone #footballmom
Dylan adores his football. He really would play for 6 hours a day every day if he could. He has my determination and focus, but every day of the year, not like me whom loses it in the winter months. Dylan works hard on things like his technical skills and nutrition. He does yoga with me to improve his flexibility and core strength.
Dylan is doing just fine, more than fine, he is doing incredibly well. Proud mum.
Josh, aged 8
With Josh there is a bit of a different story, I’ll set the scene. He was spotted at a very young age, five, and went straight into the pre-academy structure at Cambridge United, before his older brother! It was an extra training session each week, nothing major, the odd game on top of his grass roots team.
Josh is left-footed with A LOT of talent, not necessarily the determined, focussed mindset of Dylan, but easily the talent. Bear in mind that Josh is only 8.
We hit an issue with his grassroots team Knebworth whom would not let him play up a year. Josh was more than capable of playing with the team one year older and had been doing so for two years. Cambridge were keen he did this too to stretch himself and learn from older boys. But the committee of Knebworth (none of whom knew who Josh was or had seen his talent), decided Josh should move back down to his age group. We removed him from Knebworth at the same time as Dylan who was leaving to join Cambridge Academy.
We had a bit of a gap of grassroots football from then. Josh carried on playing with Cambridge and they started to train him with the older academy boys. He got to go to training twice a week at the same time as Dylan and play in games every two-three weeks with teams like Aston Villa, Derby and Chelsea. But the pressure got to him, he was playing with the older boys who are big strong, physical boys. Very good at football boys and it was too much for seven-year-old Josh.
The football breakfast of champions. Scrambled egg on toast at 7am. Both boys non Cambridge today. Today Dylan played in a tournament for Stevenage district. Won 2 games, drew 2. Josh played for watton at stone u9’s. Won 3-0. Josh scored 1 and got player of the match. Boom. . . . . . #footballmum #footballmom #scrambledeggs #breakfast #healthybreakfast #energyfood #energybreakfast #stevenage #districtfootball #grassroots #wattonatstone #hertfordshire #saturdaymorning #lovefootball #proudmum
He had a break from Cambridge for a couple of months and joined a different local grassroots team who had a committee whom encouraged good players to play up a year if they had the talent. Josh joined Watton-at-stone and his confidence flourished again.
Football academies are signing their U9 boys for next year
So now we are at the point where academies are choosing whom to sign at the U9 point, this is where boys are signed to academies and leave their grass roots team. Josh hasn’t made it at Cambridge. The difficulties of this football year have taken their toll and Josh is not going to be signed. He does have a place in the Cambridge shadow academy, which I know is an incredible achievement, but his heart was set on playing for the academy team.
This is incredibly difficult for Josh to deal with, particularly with the success of his older brother. As soon as we found out we told him. I have been having this conversation with him for months now that he might not be signed. And if he doesn’t everything will be okay, we will find him a great team near to where we live to continue playing lots of football.
He was gutted, we have had a few emotional explosions in the past few weeks, big arguments between brothers. Poor Josh also broke his finger so has had to stop contact sport for the past three weeks. He is hating it.
As soon as I found out about the academy decision I got straight on the phone to Letchworth, a local very highly regarded football team. I spoke to the U9 manager who is keen to see Josh for a trial with the intention to train with them over the summer holiday and join the squad for the 2018/19 season. He will drop back to his official age group, but he will have a good level of training and will be playing will other shadow and regional develop centre boys.
Josh was happy with this. As long as he gets to play lots of football he is a happy.
How should you prepare your child for rejection like this at such a young age?
Some parents choose to not put their children into situations where they might get rejected. I have spoken to many football mums or dads who didn’t let their children train with the academy teams until 8 or 9. Rather than age 5 when Josh started. Every parent has a different view. We wanted the boys to do what made them happy.
Talking is good, I often talk to both boys about the fact that at some point it is very likely they will get released/rejected. And will need to re-adjust without giving up on their dream.
We recognise that any emotional outbursts are most likely a reaction to this situation, and to just accept them for what they are. Josh has been through a big emotional change at a young age.
Dylan and Josh’s teachers know the whole situation and are very supportive. Josh’s teacher has been keeping a special eye on Josh to ensure he is okay at school. The boy’s teachers are amazing, I am so grateful for their support and care.
There you have it, one boy in the academy squad and another in the shadow academy. They are very talented boys. Long may it continue. And I will do everything in my power to support their football. Be that career or hobby. I do have a third son, he is five and tried football, but wasn’t keen. Quite a relief as for three weeks I had to be in three places at the same time = impossible.
If you are reading this as a football academy parent, or thinking about it for your son or daughter, have a read through these posts I have written with previous updates. What is it like to be football academy parent, including the cost!. The emotional turmoil of your eight year old going on football tour In addition, this book, Every Boys Dream, is a great and informative read explaining how the football academy structure works, and the likelihood of your child making it to be a professional football player.
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