As the 152 players were entering Harefield Academy for the first training session of this month, their attention was immediately drawn to the meeting underway in the entrance hall.
The visitors in their all blue tracksuits with one of the most notorious emblems in English football witnessed waves of children turning up for training predominantly in red kits and as these were not only SJFA branded the focused conversation was gently interrupted by the objective set in jest to convert a proportion in to blue shirts by the season end.
Following our pre-Christmas visit to Chelsea FC’s training ground at Cobham arranged by the FA Equality and Diversity department, a follow up was arranged with SJFA hosting Chelsea Academy Coach Brian Mustill and his collegue Deniz Ombesh leading the Pre Academy North London Development Centre and scouts within the Hertfordshire & Middlesex region. Chelsea FC’s Academy is keen to have ongoing engagement with community focused clubs across London and the SJFA visit was in line with that objective.
The agenda for the day was to furnish the visitors with background and milestones of our journey together with sharing our current objectives. At the same time, the purpose included obtaining further insight to how one of the world’s leading football clubs operates at the foundation and development phase. The half-hour long conversation was followed by a tour of our set up with training sessions in full force.
Our visitors were impressed indeed and positive feedback was received with regards to our progress, systems, ambitions and commitment. In particular the latter element was emphasised which once again is a testimony of the tremendous work by our managers and coaches as well as the parents’ sound support.
Both parties have agreed to be in touch with a view to explore and share future opportunities of development for both coaches and players.
Head of External Relations