On Sunday the young Spireites players from the under 10 and under 11 Foundation Phase teams capped off their seasons with an unforgettable matchday experience at the Proact Stadium.Coaches Darren Malloy and Steve Hancock came up with the idea as they felt it would showcase the talent in the younger squads and also to expose young players to experiences that will help them mature and develop as they progress through the club's youth system.
Malloy outlined an exciting day for the young players: "The boys arrived and went into the home dressing room where they had their music playing as they prepared and took in the surroundings.
"After the warm up they returned to the dressing room to finalise their preparations before being led out of the tunnel by the match officials to the walk-out music they hear their first team heroes enter the Proact to every week.
"As they lined up, the match squad were announced over the speaker system by Nick Johnson, which really tied everything together.
"The games themselves had great moments of passing, skill and combinations which helped to highlight the talent we possess at our football club."
With the matches played and the teams enjoying their time out on the hallowed playing turf, Malloy feels the players will have learned a lot from their unique experience.
He said: "Moving forward I think the kids have been given a taste of what it’s like to be a professional footballer. As they are already in the system I’m sure this experience will only inspire them to work harder and push themselves more every week in training.
"What's equally important is the long-lasting memory that they will hold for the rest of their lives of the day they spent playing at the Proact with their friends and of being a part of something special.
The feedback received since the weekend's event certainly suggests that the experience was one to treasure for those who took part.
Malloy explained: "Players emailed myself later on that evening saying how amazing the day was and how they are still “buzzing” from the day, so we know there was a really positive impact on the players.
"A lot of parents have also been extremely positive, with some very complimentary comments to myself and the other coaches. They were especially thankful to everyone who came in to add the extra details across the day for making it as close to the real deal for the players as possible.
"Seeing the smiles and excitement from each and every individual involved made it worthwhile."