WEYMOUTH Football Club has announced plans to harness the wealth of local young sporting talent in the region.
From next season, the revamped youth section will be directly connected to the club.
The Terras’ strategy will be to nurture and develop the talented young footballers in the town and, in time, bring them through to the adult game and into the first team.
Weymouth chairman-elect Steve Mills said: “It is also important that other players of all abilities are also given the chance to represent the club in true community spirit.
“As a club, we want to encourage all of Weymouth’s fantastic local youth football clubs to get involved with us on match days, acting as ball boys and enjoying coaching sessions with first-team players.
“We look forward to some great young talent in the town eventually pulling on a first-team shirt for the club and encouraging more local players to come through the ranks.”
The first stage for the club was to re-introduce a youth section again and have as many age groups as possible.
The club have already made major steps by supporting the re-integration of the existing age groups from under-12 to under-16 level.
The Terras are now looking to recruit more players in the close season for the early age groups that will start in September – this is alongside inviting players to join their existing teams.
Anyone wishing to help in running or helping run any of these teams will be made most welcome. Contact youth secretary Michelle on 07887 495928 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Weymouth FC Youth will now simply be known as Weymouth FC and, as a club, from first team all the way down to under-7s, the age groups will play in the same kit.
Current youth section chairman and under-12 manager Paul Tapper said: “As youth chairman I am very excited about the future.
“The re-amalgamation of the youth section into the Weymouth FC structure, and the opportunities this will provide for all youth players in the local area, can only be a positive thing.
“We want children to have the chance to enjoy playing football and look to progress to play for their hometown team. We look forward to expanding the youth teams and working with others who share the same passion and vision.
“It is only due to hard work from the club directors and youth committee that we have been able to make this possible. We have to thank Steve Mills in particular who has worked with us closely and shares a promising vision of the future for Weymouth FC.”
The youth section’s under-13s are managed by former Terras’ striker and current FA referee Martin Underhay.
They will be playing their next home game at the Bob Lucas Stadium on Thursday night (6.30pm) against Chickerell United Athletic.
Underhay said: “I am excited at the future of Weymouth FC as a community club.
“I want all the clubs in the area to feel part of the bigger picture and get the best local talent staying locally and not going to other southern non-League sides, which has happened too many times in the past.
“We need the youth of the town to know that there is a pathway to semi-professional football in the town.
“Personally, managing my youth team at the Bob Lucas Stadium will be very special as I obviously knew Bob well from my time playing at the club. He was fundamental in getting me back playing when he was club physiotherapist after I broke my leg against Wimborne Town, and after refereeing there and now managing a team there, I cannot think of too many that would have done that.
“My team has made big strides this year and are in a very good position to clinch promotion to Division One of the Dorset Youth League and we have some extremely talented players, so the future is very exciting.
“Throughout the youth section we have some amazing talent so we want to excite the football lovers of this town again.”
Weymouth Under-13s need one point from the game to gain promotion back to Division
One and are welcoming supporters to come along to the crucial fixture.
It is also hoped that more of the club’s youth teams will have the opportunity to use the facilities at the Bob Lucas Stadium on a more regular basis.
The merge of the youth section and Weymouth FC kicks off with the Weymouth FC Youth Tournament, to be held on the weekend of Saturday, April 29 (under-6 to under-9), Sunday, April 30 (under-10 and under-11) and Monday, May 1 (under-12 and under-13) at the Bob Lucas Stadium.
Places are still available in most age groups but are very limited.