Derby County Football Club Women

Testing Environment Can Only Boost Development says U16s Boss

Today we continue our look at our Academy Teams this season and we start with a look at the Under 16’s and how they are preparing themselves for adult football over the next few seasons.

We spoke with Derby County Women Academy Director Dave Cholerton who gives an overview of the U16’s this season before speaking to Head Coach Hannah Freeman, looking back at the season to date and talk progress and what is to come.


With Derby County Women looking to join the elite and gain promotion, developing players for that team has been at the forefront and that philosophy is a key feature in the club’s ethos.

For Academy Director Dave Cholerton, having coaches that believe in the ethos and are also keen to develop, can only be good for the Academy and that despite tough challenges off the pitch this year, the team continues to move forward on it.

“This team are in their fourth season in the Warwickshire league and over the years have enjoyed competitive football against the likes of Leicester, Alvechurch and Coventry.

“The team are once again having a successful season and we are delighted that long-serving coach, Hannah is on the road to recovery from her short time away from football.

“Hannah knows how to get the best out of players however Simon has done a magnificent job in her absence.”

Getting that competitive balance whilst continuing to nurture the development of the players as individuals too has been a consistent process for Coach Hannah Freeman.

Freeman said “Seeing the continual development of individuals from a young age is fantastic not just as footballers but as people as well and that can only help them improve going forwards.

“The girls have had fantastic character to repeatedly rescue themselves from going behind and great determination and pulling together through a difficult period with lots of injuries.

“The league is highly competitive both physically and technically creating a testing environment against teams of similar standards for the girls to develop and push themselves getting ready for senior football.”

Looking ahead to their development, Hannah is keen to iron out a perceived slow start in their matches this season but work on the training ground has already began to bear fruit.

“One of the main challenges the girls need to work on is changing from starting matches slow to kicking off with our usual high tempo as it has put us on the back foot early on in numerous matches this season.

“The girls began to develop this in our last match before lockdown against Burton so we will be looking for this consistently when we restart.

“We’ve got a lot of technically good players who can go on and develop into senior football with Derby County Women so making sure that we continue to listen and learn and focus on the football we want to play is key and both Simon and I are looking forward to getting back to football soon.”