Foundation Focus: WBA In Worcestershire
“The Albion Foundation’s Worcestershire programme provides the best school sport delivery and football coaching in the county, our provision is good value, inclusive and of a high quality. We work with participants/players of all abilities and provide pathways from grassroots to elite football and try to support pathways in other sports. Our coaches are passionate, enthusiastic and quality deliverers with player/participant’s development at heart.”
Our key areas of provision and delivery are:
PRIMARY STARS – Delivery of Physical Education lessons within the curriculum, enrichment and extra-school development programmes and workshops and extra-curricular activities.
We currently deliver elements of our Primary Stars programme in 15 Primary Schools across Worcestershire on a weekly basis, and have a number of other Primary Schools who receive occasional programmes with us throughout the course of the academic year.
FOOTBALL FOR ALL – We aim to inspire children to achieve in sport and in life, to help us with this we try to provide opportunities for youngsters to participate in football outside of school hours. This takes place through holiday courses, evening sessions and weekend sessions which are open to participants of all abilities.
We have good partnership links with 4 grassroots clubs across Worcestershire, including elements of coach CPD, coaching and participant pathways into football, as well as running holiday courses from 8 different venues across the county and 3 open ability sessions for children to participate in football and continue to develop their love for the beautiful game.
Our holiday courses especially are extremely popular and have been known to attract over 100 participants, male and female, of all abilities at one venue for a full week of football fun, skill development and games.
PHOTO: Baggie Bird with coaches, players and the chairman from Worcester-based grassroots club Nunnery Wood Colts FC, with whom we have a strong partnership. Also pictured is Jacob Lewitzkyi who spent a number of seasons within our PDC structure, having joined us to develop alongside playing for Nunnery Wood Colts FC, and now plays in the Academy set-up of an English Football League Club.
PHOTO: A group of coaches pose for a photo with Worcestershire Development Officer, Richard Holmes, after a Coach CPD event hosted by The Albion Foundation at Redditch United FC for their Junior team coaches during the 2015/16 season.
PATHWAYS TO ELITE FOOTBALL – Our Player Development System has developed over a number of years and now works very closely in line with expectations of the West Bromwich Albion FC Academy system itself. We run annual trials for players from Under 7’s right through to Under 13’s providing a formal and structured pathway for high performers to make the transition from grassroots football to academy and elite football.
We now run Player Development Centres on a two-tiered basis, including 2 “Tier 1” centres and 3 “Tier 2” centres for Under 7’s to Under 11’s in addition to 2 centres specifically for Under 12’s and 13’s and a Girls Only Player Development Centre for Under 10’s through to Under 16’s. In the 2016/17 season, we expect to see just short of 400 players across Worcestershire involved in the system. On top of this pathway, the club’s Academy recruitment team will run trial’s that welcomes ALL of our “Tier 1” participants, providing the opportunity for approximately 170 participants to take the next step forward into an elite Premier League academy environment.
In the 2015/16 season we provided trials for 72 participants to get into the West Bromwich Albion FC Academy structure. 5 of those participants are still in an ongoing trial process a number of months later within the club’s system and sessions ran with the purpose of developing talent. There are also currently 2 players signed within the WBA Academy squads who have come directly from the Worcestershire Player Development Centres and continue to train and play weekly within the elite Academy set-up.
PHOTO: Our 2016/17 Under 12’s squad from the Tier 1 Worcester PDC after their WBA Academy Trial, 3 of whom, following the trials, are still involved within sessions ran by the West Bromwich Albion Talent Identification progra
mme as part of the Academy set-up and many others have gone on to participate in both our Under 13’s Player Development Centres and into Junior Premier League teams.
Over the last 6 years, a number of players have been through this system, many of whom we first encountered either during delivery on one of our Primary Stars programmes in local primary schools, through partnerships with local grassroots football clubs or through our open ability holiday courses or soccer centres. Some of the young players I will speak about below have been through that pathway, joined our Player Development System and have reaped the rewards…
HARRY STONE – 10 years old
Harry began his experiences with the Albion Foundation in 2012 through our delivery in Holywell Primary School, where Harry went from PE lessons into one of our extra-curricular after-school clubs. He then started to attend some of our holiday courses at various local venues during school holidays.
Harry was offered the opportunity to trial for our Player Development Centre, and after a successful trial began to participate weekly through our programme, reaching the “Tier 1” grade in the 2015/16 season.
“I personally think that the foundation has helped my son to achieve a much higher level of football and understanding of the game than he would ever have received from either his school or Sunday team… I would and have recommended numerous friends and team mates of my son to attend the camps and trials offered by Richard and the Albion Foundation… My son loves the coaching he receives and the great atmosphere from the PDC Worcester training. He has also enjoyed representing The Albion Foundation in the matches against other PDC teams” – Russell Stone, Harry’s dad.
In the 2016/17 season, Harry was gifted a free mascot place for the West Bromwich Albion vs. Everton at The Hawthorns on 20th August 2016 as a reward for his progress and commitment to our various programmes.
Bailey Gardiner – 12 years old
Bailey started his journey with The Albion Foundation in 2011 through an extra curricular programme at his Worcester school, Pitmaston Primary. The session he took part in was a cricket after-school club, on the back of this, Bailey began to attend our holiday courses also getting involved with our football delivery.
“Bailey started as a very shy child, but after his 1st day at camp he couldn’t wait for day 2. We have always been very impressed with the activities and sessions run by the staff, they are fun, informative & very well organised. The team create a safe environment. The added bonus to all of this is seeing the development of his football skills & grow in character.” – Mark Gardiner – Bailey’s dad.
“I love being taught by all the coaches, the PDC has allowed to learn new skills and at the camps I have met new people and friends, they are always fun” – Bailey Gardiner
On 28th August 2016, Bailey was invited to be a match-day mascot for West Bromwich Albion’s home Premier League fixture against Middlesbrough, again as a reward for his commitment to our programmes.
“A superbly & professionally run experience by everyone involved at The Albion Foundation & at The Hawthorns. It was a day neither of us will forget and only strengthens my thoughts that the work the foundation does in the surrounding communities is outstanding.” – Mark Gardiner – Bailey’s dad (when asked about his experiences with Bailey during the mascot day).
Oliver Smith – Aged 8
Oliver started with the Albion Foundation only in 2014, starting with our Baggies Soccer Centres and Holiday Camps in Malvern, and quickly progressing through our Tier 2 Player Development Centre and into our Tier 1 Player Development Centre.
Oliver’s dad, Robert Smith, had this to say about his experiences with The Albion Foundation’s Worcestershire programme when asked what it is he likes about the work we do: “The professionalism of the coaches. Quality training. Their commitment to grass roots football and to the local community.”
Oliver joined Bailey as a mascot during the WBA vs. Middlesbrough fixture on 28th August 2016, and Robert, his father had this to say about the experience, “For us, it was just lovely seeing Oliver enjoy the day so much and take so much from it. Such a great opportunity to see behind the scenes at a Premier League club. Meant a lot to him and us.”
Charlie Spain, Will Davies and Jake Hemming – Aged 12, 12 and 11.
Over the Christmas period, three other regular attendees (Charlie Spain, Will Davies and Jake Hemming), participants within our Player Development Centres, had the experience, and surprise of a lifetime, which can not be explained any better than by watching the video below.
Our commitment to developing football and to providing opportunities for youngsters in Worcestershire is hopefully evident and demonstrated by some of the above, and will continue to go from strength to strength as we provide high quality provision, opportunities to play, pathways to elite sport and unforgettable experiences…
For more information regarding our Worcestershire programmes please contact firstname.lastname@example.org