Nantwich Town U16s
Team: Nantwich Town U16’s
Manager / Coach: Chris Lloyd
Assistant: John Pemberton
Squad: Alex – Def, Bran – Def, Callum – Mid, Charlie – Def, Fin – Mid, Freddie – G/K, Isaac – Mid/Fwd, James – Mid/Fwd, James – Def, Josh – Def, Lewis – G/K, Liam – Def, Matty – Mid/Fwd, Ollie – Fwd, Toby – Mid, Tom – Mid, Will – Mid/Fwd
The NTFC U16’s were originally formed back in the 2010/11 season where we were called Nantwich Town Lasers (U7’s). We played at the Crewe Alexandra Soccer Centre up to the end of U9’s, when we moved to the Potteries Junior Youth League as U10’s; we played in the Potteries up to the end of U15’s, when we then moved to the North Staffs Youth League at the start of the 2019/20 season (U16’s).
Our Philosophy & Ethos is very much in line with the club’s & the FA’s (including Respect, Four Corner Model, FA Future Game & The England DNA) – during the Foundation Phase years (U7’s to U11’s), everything was based around developing the players technique, decision making & problem solving, with the emphasise on player development where winning, drawing & losing would be an outcome the players would experience – equal playing time was key along with positional rotation (although the use of ‘positions’ was very ‘loose’ – everyone was expected to get on the ball when in position & then try & win the ball back when out of possession), plus, trying to make it ‘fun’ for the young players & encourage an environment where mistakes were to be embraced & not feared.
As we entered the Youth Phase we continued with the same philosophy for U12’s, but from U13’s onwards, the emphasis slightly changed towards ‘earning’ extended game time with attendance to training being a factor, along with attitude – willingness to work hard & a desire to learn & develop, along with a focus on performance during the matches.
As the Technical side was becoming ‘ingrained’, we started to focus more on the Social & Psych corners, where the players are regularly challenged individually, as units & a team to solve problems in & out of possession – the development is still very much player centred, but also player led.
I would like to think we have developed into a team that plays football through the thirds, without the fear of failure, one that is very ‘open & free flowing’, where everyone still looks to get on the ball when in possession & still works very hard to win the ball back out of possession.
We have certainly sacrificed ‘winning trophies’ over long term player development, but I’m sure the players will benefit from this as they move into open age football over the next few seasons – it is important to also state that we still have had a number of ‘successes’ over the time the team has been playing – league positions have been very consistent over the years (with a number of top 3 finishes); we have won & finished runners-up in a number of league cups, with our biggest success coming from last seasons (2018/19) Cheshire County Junior Cup, where we got through to the last 4 in Cheshire, which for a team based around development is a huge success – my point being, you can still be successful without a ‘win at all costs mentality’.
The team has also been recognised by being invited to play at/against a number of professional clubs, plus, privileged to support The FA at coaching CPD events not only at the club, but also SGP.
To finish, I’m very proud of this group of players, they are an absolute pleasure to coach & a credit to their parents & the club.