Derby County Football Club Women

Transitioning From Academy to Senior Football

As we work towards the resumption of football at grassroots level, this week we are focusing on the Ewe Rams Academy Pathway and highlight the development being made .

We spoke with Derby County Women Academy Director Dave Cholerton who gives an overview of the U20/Academy side before speaking to Head Coach Dan Dobrzycki looking back at the season to date and talk progress and what is to come.


A change of pathway over the summer saw the U20 Academy side become by default the Ewe Rams second string side with both the Development and Community Teams disbanded.

Our Academy Director believes that with the correct pathway in places and links forged to our most senior side can only be a positive for their East Midlands Women’s Regional Football League campaign.

Cholerton said “This is the first season that the club has had an u20 team team and they are really standing up to the challenge of playing senior football in the East Midlands Regional League.

“The u20s are now the club’s development team and the Academy team have already enjoyed their experience with the first team by training with them once a week and playing a part in their pre-season programme.”

Picking up on those thoughts, Dobrzycki believes that after a rocky start, the squad have found their feet in adult football and that their involvement at senior level can only be good for their development.

Dobrzycki said “It was very much a rude awakening in the first game of the season but the girls have adapted really quickly and it is clearly the right environment for them to develop in.

“There have been a lot of highlights already. The draw against Notts County was particularly special as not only did the team play very well from a technical standpoint, they showed desire and fight to get back into the game, which we were very proud of.

“It has been a real privilege for the academy girls to train alongside the first team. Those who have trained with the first team have really developed as a result. The biggest takeaway is intensity.

“Intensity in everything you do. Whether it’s a five minute starter activity or a league game, the intensity is always a high standard and that is something every young player needs to match.”

As Lead Development Phase Coach at the club, Dobrzycki believes the Academy is going from strength to strength and also had a special mention for the club’s Coaches.

“The academy has never been in such a position of strength. The coaches ah every level are going a great job of developing talent. One positive is the synergy the academy teams now have.

“All are pulling in the same direction with the common goal of developing first team quality players. Another strength of the academy is the amount of effort everyone puts into the person as well as the player.

“Everyone at the academy can be really proud of the well-being work that is being done.”