#TheAcademy- A Season Review
#TheAcademy began as conversation around a small table and has successfully snowballed into a fantastic endeavour and we are delighted to look forward to what the next season will bring.
For our first intake we hoped for approximately 65 members but were pleased to say we surpassed that number with 118 players regularly taking part in junior hockey at Leicester from the age of 6 to 18.
We ran two U10 and two U12 Squads at the County Tournament, with our U12's qualifying for Regional Finals. It is generally agreed that the quality of the players in the younger age groups is hugely exciting, and we are expecting to push for titles next Season at U10 and U12 Age Groups.
Our U14, U16 and U18 Squads all contested the EH Championships, and we also ran an U16 Development Squad. The Development Squad did brilliantly, eventually finishing 6th overall and we hope to improve on that next season.
Our mighty U18's had an incredible Cup run, getting to Quarter Finals in the Knockout Competition (contesting two nail biting penalty flick knockouts along the way). We had really hoped to reach Finals again with this incredible bunch of players, but eventually fell to Harleston Magpies. We wish this special group of players all the best as most of the group move on to further education and new endeavours.
No less than seven of the U18 Squad were involved in Training Sessions for the First Team, with all of them playing at least one Premiership Match, and three players being core members of the Squad week in week out - a true testament to the success of Academy and the Club as a whole.
Sunday afternoons at LGS have been a great hockey hub, the cafe was constantly busy with bacon sandwiches and Sunday papers available for loyal parents and carers staying to support their children.
The Academy saw every single first team player at LGS as a guest coach and inspiring our future stars. We also had specialist goal keeping masterclasses from first team keepers Caitlin Jeffries and Steph Tirrell.
Nikki Laybourne, First Team Player and Academy Head Coach:
‘I have been delighted with how the first year of the Leicester Academy has gone. With over 120 members from the ages of 6 up to 18, it has been fantastic to see the improvement that has been made, as well as the many competitive fixtures played. The mighty U18s have had a fabulous season, reaching the quarter-finals of the National cup, knocking out Beeston, Repton and Stourport along the way. Whilst the U16s have not had the results they may have been hoping for, they have gone from strength to strength and shown real potential going forward. There are certainly a number of stars for the future to watch out for in this age group! With weekly training sessions for the U14s, they have grown in confidence and many of the girls have made the transition into adult hockey. After success at the U12s county tournament they progressed to the regional finals, where they finished an impressive 13th out of all the clubs in the Midlands. For me what has been so pleasing has been seeing numbers flourish in the U8s and U10s age groups. The skill level in this age group has been really high and we have some potential 1st team players in the making. I would like to say a huge thank you to all the coaches, mangers and parents who have helped make the first year bigger and more successfully than we ever could have imagined. Here is to an even bigger, better and more successful season in 2018-19!’
Sarah Treanor, Club Vice President:
“Our academy demonstrates what is possible when a full and extensive curriculum is planned and delivered across all age groups in the club. We are already seeing the difference in our young players where they are able to accelerate the use of their skills faster than players from other clubs who do not adopt the same approach the we do.”
We are excited for all the young talent we have coming through the club and look forward building on this year’s success.
A huge thank you goes to everyone who has been part of the academy this season, from our youngest six year old players, taxi parents and supporters to our cafe helpers, umpires and coaches- every contribution has been vital to the club family and we hope to see you all next season!