Chesterfield’s academy has welcomed nine new recruits who will represent the club in the upcoming season.
The young players, some of whom are products of Chesterfield’s development schools, were at the Proact to sign academy forms with the club’s head of youth recruitment, Liam Sutcliffe.
Sutcliffe is confident that the new players will be a success. He said: “We’ve got high hopes for all the players that have gone into the academy and it stands as proof that the recruitment and development system we have in place here underpins the other areas of the football club and is working well.”
The recruitment of young players is a continuous cycle, with new young players learning new skills in the development schools and stepping up into the academy on a regular basis.
Sutcliffe said: “We’re now hopeful that over a period of time we will continue to recruit good players and develop those players, giving them the skills they require in order for them to kick on at this club.
“Olly Papworth and Ethan Booker have done incredibly well in the development schools in the last six months and it’s just rewards for them really that they can now progress into the academy.”
Andrew Papworth, father of Olly, was full of praise for the work that Chesterfield does with young players. The proud father said: “For Olly it’s a massive dream because he supports his local team and now he’s been picked to play for them. He’s really improved immensely in the past 12 months and he’s really enjoying himself.
“We appreciate everything that Liam has done. He’s always been up front and honest with us from day one and what they’ve done for him here in the past 12 months is amazing.”
Olly, 11, said: “I like it very much here. I support Chesterfield and I’m really happy to play for my home club. I’ve improved a lot and learned a lot more skills in defending, attacking and passing the ball.”
Sutcliffe was keen to express just how important the development schools are, and how they prepare young players for the academy.
He explained: “The development schools are a really key preparation tool for us as the jump between grassroots football and academy level is massive.
“Players that come into the development schools will have some skills already in place but it’s a matter of developing the skills they’re already good at and adding some new skills.
“We educate them tactically and develop those technical skills by looking at them in game situations and improving their game knowledge so they can then step up into the academy and hit the ground running.”