After a challenging but ultimately successful season for the under-18s, battling Covid disruptions and an often lengthy injury list but ultimately winning the Merit League, a number of players have successfully progressed through the youth system.
Now ready to link up with Shaun Cooper’s under-21s squad in 2021/22, the players are one step closer to joining the six Academy graduates who made their competitive debuts for the first team during the just-finished campaign.
In the first half of our look at those who have been offered the chance to progress further through the club’s system, afcb.co.uk spoke with three players to discuss their seasons and how they got to this point in their careers.
Being the captain over the last year has really helped me learn about communicating and affecting the game without the ball, now I’ll be looking to take that into next season. I want to come back fit after my recent meniscus injury, I’m ready now so I want to hit the ground running with the under-21s and quickly start playing some games.
Individually I’ve learned a lot in the last year, there have been a lot of lessons to be taken. Collectively we haven’t had the best of seasons in terms of the cups but we did win the league and that meant we finished on a high.
I was doing really well at the start of the season, playing up with the under-21s, but towards the end I picked up and injury so I’ve been out for a while – now I’m looking to bounce back for pre-season next year with the under-21s at the higher age level.
I’m originally from Blanford, which is a very small place, whereas coming to Bournemouth and moving away from home has definitely been the best thing for me. I’ve developed massively since I came in two years ago as an under-16, I wasn’t a physical as I am now and technically I think I’ve got a lot better.
Training with the first team has been big for me this season, I benefited a lot from that and also with going out on loan to Wimborne helped me a great deal. Those experiences have made me a much better player, they’ve made me think about the game differently as well. The goalkeeper union we have here is close, we train together, help each other and are good friends.
My dad played for multiple non-league clubs to quite a high standard. He wasn’t a goalie though – he was a centre-back, but he’s been a big part of my football and he’s helped me a lot in my career.