Louvre Group is proud to support Guernsey FA’s Development Academy, which aims to give the island’s most talented young footballers the opportunity to be challenged at an appropriate level of competition in the U12-U16 age groups.
The players trained weekly with Etienne Le Prevost and Guille Fernandez throughout the season, following a focused development programme looking at individual, unit and team development.
The group had three trips away in March. The first was to play against Sussex FA at Lancing FC, a game which resulted in a 1-1 draw. Lancing FC has a brand new state-of-the-art 3G stadia pitch which was a great surface for both sides to experience. It was also beneficial for the Guernsey squad in preparation for the U16 Nigel Gavet Memorial Trophy which was hosted by Jersey FA on their new 3G pitch at Springfield. Guernsey was up against a strong Jersey side and were defeated 4-0.
Trained by Jacques Isabelle and Andy Manning, the squad started a busy season with a trip to Southampton in November to play Gosport & Fareham District and Henry Beaufort School - the U16 schools county champions at the time. Two very tough games against older and stronger opposition resulted in a 2-7 defeat against Gosport and a 2-4 defeat against Henry Beaufort. Coach Jacques Isabelle said: ‘Despite the losses we felt the tour was a huge success, the team learned a lot from the experience.’
The Players’ Player of the tour award went to captain Miles Hardill and the Coaches’ Player was awarded to Corey Robilliard.
February 2016 saw the squad travelling to Jersey to play two games against Somerset and Grouville teams. It was a great challenge and positive for the squad to experience playing at Springfield stadium where they would return a month later for the Star Trophy. Again, both fixtures were defeats for Guernsey but the aim was to give the players a challenge before going on to play the annual inter insular.
Coach Jacques Isabelle enthused about the Star Trophy match later in the month, when the squad’s fortunes were reversed: ‘Our squad of 18 travelled to Jersey with the aim of turning around the miserable 0-6 defeat to Jersey on home soil last year. The final score was 1-0 to Guernsey and that was our first away win since 2004. This was the highlight of our season and there is nothing better than beating Jersey in Jersey!’
This victory led to a hugely enjoyable occasion when the squad presented the Star Trophy to the GFC home crowd and captain Miles Hardill gave a speech, in which he revealed that the secret to winning the trophy was hard work. The players were invited to the GFC home game against Sittingbourne and showed the trophy to the crowd and mascot Roary the Lion.
The U15 squad has continued training twice a week to get fit and ready for the Gothia Cup in July 2016. This trip is also supported by Louvre Group sponsorship and will see the team compete in the world’s largest and most international youth football tournament. Each year around 1,600 teams from 80 nations take part and they play 4,500 games on 100 fields.
Jacques sums up the season: ‘Even with only one win so far this year we see it as one of our most successful seasons. Our aim is to challenge the boys in every training session and game, which we have achieved by providing them with competitive opposition on a regular basis, both on and off island.’
Under the guidance of Scott Ferbrache and Angus Mackay, the squad members of the U14 Louvre Development Academy have experienced a carefully planned player development programme during the 2015/16 season. Considering the needs of every individual player with regard to their technical, physical, psychological and social characteristics, this programme has allowed the players to develop progressively throughout the season.
One notable achievement was the selection of Maya Le Tissier as part of the England Schools FA U15 squad. It is an outstanding achievement for a local player to be selected as part of an English national squad.
Under 12s and Under 13s
Coaches Steve Sharman, Colin Fallaize and Dave Upson have been impressed by the young players this season. According to Steve Sharman: ‘The 2015/16 season has been one where the U13 Louvre Development Academy players have undergone a transformation in respect of their confidence, communication and understanding of what learning actually is.’
The coaches encouraged the squad to find their own learning style within a fun environment that replicates the game itself. As Steve explains: ‘These young players had rarely had to extend themselves to succeed on the football pitch, resulting in a comfort-zone mentality.
‘The aim for the group over the season was for them to fundamentally shift their approach to improving themselves individually and as part of a team. To do this the coaches adopted a zero-tolerance policy that at first challenged the players in terms of their own presentation, listening skills and response to instruction. I believe for many this was the first time they had encountered a style of delivery that accepted nothing but their best effort regardless of whether they succeeded or not. It focused on the how not the what; it took the players back to a point where a foundation was established, allowing learning to happen.’
The players were exposed to a range of styles and approaches such as bio-banding, relative age effect, team building, competition and - most importantly - falling back in love with football. Colin Fallaize is pleased with the progress they have made: ‘I believe we’re starting to achieve our objectives and I look forward to continuing the model amongst other age groups.’
This age group also travelled to France to play in the annual Sartilly Youth Football Tournament and the Louvre Academy teams acquitted themselves extremely well, initially encountering and then overcoming the physicality afforded by older opposition and compensating with good decision making and technique that was of the highest quality compared to their peers on the day.
Success within this Tournament can be measured in various ways, with two age group teams being successful in winning their Cup competitions and the players highlighting their learning and decision making throughout the day as they responded to the challenges set by different opposition.