Derby County Football Club Women

Academy Report by Dave Cholerton

As the Academy prepares for the 2020/21 season and with news about small group training hoping to be confirmed by midweek, we take a look at how the Academy has grown under the leadership of Dave Cholerton.

Before taking over as Academy Director, the junior section as it was known then, had 8 teams that were ran separately with the teams having an individual identity.

There were no female coaches, no coach development plan and the player pathway and recruitment had no real direction and this was where we were keen to change it up and bring in a joined-up thinking and action process.

Four years on for the Academy, we have seen a remarkable improvement in where we wanted to be and though we always have ares to improve, we are vastly changed for the better.

Not least we have recruited 8 female coaches, appointed a UEFA B Lead Phase Coach in Dan Dobrzycki, implemented a coach development plan that has seen volunteers achieve coaching qualification and receive regular CPD, a player pathway designed to meet the needs of all players and help them achieve their potential and created a collaborative approach between coaches and teams that focuses on player development.

As we prepare plans for the 2020/21 season, we will see the inclusion on an U20 team and for the first time for the Academy one team at every age group from U9 to U16 in order to raise playing standard at each age group.

Following last season’s success of having an U18 team, the inclusion of an U20 team is the final piece to ensuring that the transition for players from junior to senior football supports their developmental needs and will hopefully see more Academy players playing senior football.

The #OneClub relationship that we have developed with DCFC and the support from Sam Griffiths, (First Team Manager) for the Academy, it has allowed us to develop the standard of playing and coaching staff. The Academy has produced first team players Amy Sims and Kira Rai and we are excited to see more!

We want every Academy player to have the dream of playing first team football for Derby County and everything that do from training to games and Development Days and Festivals, is to support player development and help our players achieve their potential.

One of the changes that has made a difference and will no doubt enable us to make huge strides as a club is the professional approach we have fostered for the Academy as we aim to make it one of the leading Female Academy’s in the country.

It is really important players get the best experience whilst playing for Derby County FC Women and we have made progress on many levels including:

  • Producing a football philosophy that forms the basis of effective training sessions
  • A code of conduct that demonstrations the highest expectations of our playing and coaching staff and our players’ parents,
  • A recruitment process that effectively supports our existing and new players,
  • A process that ensure our coaches qualifications are up to date and a presentation evening that merits the achievements of our players. And of course, like in this report, our media coverage is excellent

In the current circumstances, football’s short-term future in uncertain and our thoughts are with the people who have been affected by Covid-19, however by this coming midweek we are hopeful of being able to confirm the first steps in returning to football.

What is certain though, is the commitment and enthusiasm from our amazing Academy coaches in ensuring that our players have an effective return to football.

Stay Safe and I look forward to updating you later this week.