There’s always a lot to look forward in a new year, and for that’s certainly the case for the coaches and players of the Chesterfield FC academy.
Over the weekend of April 21-23, the under 12s will be heading to Dortmund in Germany to take on some of Europe’s best in the prestigious Golden Goal Fruhjahrs Cup.
It’s a trip that wets the appetite, while the invitation is recognition of the fantastic work done by the academy staff.
“It’s an invite only tournament through selection of what we do,” said lead foundation phase coach Darren Molloy.
“We’re playing Borussia Dortmund and Olympique Marseille, so it’s a huge thing to have that. The only other English club going is West Bromwich Albion, so again you’re saying look at what we are competing with, and people are saying we can go and have good competitive games, it’s a big moment for us to go and do things like that.”
The team will take part in up to 12 20 minute matches during the weekend, other teams scheduled to compete include Russian team Lokomotiv Moscow, and Levski Sofia of Bulgaria.
A month later it will be the turn of the under 9 and under 10 teams to take part in an invite only tournament, this time in the Belgian capital city of Brussels.
The tournament will take place over the weekend of May 26-28, and features Belgian clubs Anderlecht and Club Brugges, as well as Dutch giants Feyenoord and Willem II and Germany’s Schalke 04.
Molloy said: “It’s going to be a great experience for our boys that we are playing in that level of competition, it’s something that as a club we should be very proud of,”
“They don’t just get there, they get there on merit from what people see and what we do, and to go and have a Chesterfield team line-up against the likes of Anderlecht is quite a big thing and it will be a proud moment for everybody involved to see that happen and show where we’ve come from.
“It’s going to be a great experience for our boys that we are playing in that level of competition, it’s something that as a club we should be very proud of, they don’t just get there, they get there on merit from what people see and what we do, and to go and have a Chesterfield team line up against the likes
of Anderlecht is quite a big thing and it will be a proud moment for everybody involved to see that happen and show where we’ve come from.”
One player who sadly won’t be taking part in the Belgian tournament is ten-year old Zhane Landers, who has left the academy to join Derby County. The club will be receiving a compensation fee.
Landers had been with the academy for 18 months and his move to Derby is further evidence of the excellent development work done by the coaching staff.
Molloy said: "A lot of the time he’s played in an age group above himself just to try and stretch him on and manage him at the right time in different ways and testing him,"
“He's come in on a six-week trial from Manchester City and he travelled from Leicester, so logistically it made sense for him if something came up that you would let him go and it would happen. So, he’s moved to Derby which is something you like to see – other clubs taking interest in our players and what we’re doing and developing. We wish Zhane all the best for the future."