SATURDAY’S home match against Wigan is a special occasion for many young Greens.
The match is an Academy special where we are celebrating and recognising the work and achievements of the Argyle Academy.
All our Academy players, from Under 9s through to Under 18s, and all our Centres of Excellence have been invited to this afternoon’s game, along with their parents or carers.
We also welcome the players’ kit sponsors and thank them for supporting our young players.
Our Academy Manager Phil Stokes has also rolled out an initiative this season for Academy players to seek personal kit sponsorship for the season. We also welcome those kit sponsors to the match and thank them for supporting our young players
We currently have more than 500 players within our development system and we are delighted that many of them are here today.
The Academy has already produced two new first team players this season with Michael Cooper and Cameron Sangster both making their League debuts while still being apprentices.
Luke McCormick and Gary Sawyer, though seasoned professionals, are also products of Argyle’s youth system, as is Alex Fletcher, in his first season as a pro, and currently on loan at Torquay United.
Much has been made of the Under- 18’s FA Youth Cup success starting with a 7-2 thumping of Eastleigh in the first round. That win earned Argyle a home fixture against AFC Wimbledon in the second round.
The tie looked to be slipping away from them but in the last ten minutes the young Greens scored twice to win 3-2 including an injury time winner from Klaidi Lolos.
The dramatic win set up a tie with European giants Manchester City in round three at Home Park. The young Greens put in a battling performance to reach a penalty shoot-out which they were victorious thanks to the heroics of Michael Cooper and Michael Peck.
That set up a fourth round tie with Burnley and once again the Pilgrims overcame a second Premier League side with a 90th minute winner from Billy Craske giving them a 1-0 victory at Turf Moor.
The boys now face a fifth round tie at home to Fulham which is due to be played on Wednesday, February 7.
The strength of the academy has also shown with the success of the South West Peninsula league side containing mainly of the Under 18 academy players who currently sit second in the division.
Its not just about the Under-18s and their Youth Cup run, with success from all age groups being celebrated on Saturday with the Under 9z and Under 12s both winning trophies this season.
Prior to the game, our Academy players will have completed their fitness testing at Marjon. This will include agility arrowhead left and right; counter movement jump; speed over 5, 10 and 30 metres; and the yo-yo test.
We complete these tests three times a season and gives us an opportunity to assess how our players are developing in their physical corner. It also provides our sport science department with data to benchmark our players. We can evidence that standards are increasing year on year.