Under-21s to plug teenage football void

A NEW initiative aimed at plugging the gap between youth football and the senior game is to be launched in Hucknall.

Notts FA has set up a league for under-21s. And one of the first teams to throw their hat into the ring are Hucknall Sports.

Sports, who have been at the forefront of youth football in the county for more than 30 years, stage a launch night for the league at the Goosedale Sports Centre off Moor Road, Bestwood Village on Wednesday August 17.

Any players, aged between 16 and 21, who are interested in joining the team should go along for the opening training session, which starts at 7 pm.

The league has been created amid fears that too many talented teenagers drift out of football once they have stopped playing for their local youth side.

“The FA have identified this as a major area of concern,” says Jody Caudwell, of adult football and coaching at Notts FA. Caudwell (27) himself hails from Hucknall.

“There is a significant decline in participation in football between the ages of 16 and 21. Young British players within the professional game are also finding it increasingly difficult to break into senior teams.

“This initiative is in line with the emphasis on nurturing young talented players in this age group.

“Teams from across Nottinghamshire will compete in the new league.

“Hucknall Sports have a proud history of producing talented young players in the local game. This new team is a big step in the club’s development and is an excellent opportunity for any 16-to-21-year-old players interested in being part of a new team for the coming season.”

Next Wednesday’s training session will be led by a coach from the FA and from the Nottingham Forest Academy. It will be based around the transition from youth football to the adult game.