Derby County Football Club Women

Competition is Key to Boost Development for Under 15s

We continue our look at our Academy Teams so far this season this week we kick-off with our Under 15’s side and how increased competition in their league is ensuring new challenges are being faced head on.

We spoke with Derby County Women Academy Director Dave Cholerton who gives an overview of the U15’s this season before speaking to Coach Stuart Cokayne, looking back at the season to date and talk progress and what is to come.


With the onset of lockdown at the beginning of November postponing grassroots football, the break came at the wrong time for Derby County Women’s Under 15’s as they had begun to hit their stride amid a tough competition in the Central Warwickshire Girls League.

Academy Director Dave Cholerton believes that the increased competition this season will help the girls even more and that a competitive league will ensure the challenges they face continue to boost their development as a side.

Cholerton said “ The U15’s have enjoyed a competitive start to the season with challenging games against Wordsley, Coventry and Warwick. This is exactly what we want for our Academy teams as playing good players will help our teams develop. 

“The u15 have stood up to the challenges they have faced and because of a higher quality of teams this season, it will allow them to continue to develop, whilst not allowing them to get complacent and making sure they are focused each and every game and at training too.”

Coach Stuart Cokayne believes that the competition this season has set a new bar for the girls to achieve and that they are having to dig deep to overcome these challenges.

Cokayne said “I believe that the league is far more competitive than last season. There has been some surprising results right across the league. We have been playing some excellent football that has lead to numerous chances but we have struggled to find the net in a couple of games.

“he players have shown great character and determination in a couple of games, particularly in the game against Wordsley. Having been two goals down the team fought back to draw and could have won the game. 

“I think a number of teams raise their game when they play us and it’s down to our players to stamp their authority on the game from the start. We have struggled with this in a few games and haven’t played our best football until 15-20 minutes into the game by which time the opposition has grown in confidence.

“Six of our seven matches have been against teams in the top eight of the league table currently, so it’s been a tough start. Having won four and drawn another we are joint second in the league. Highlights for me include beating Coventry City 3-1 having been loosing at half-time. Another would be our second-half performance against Wordsley which we dominated and played some great team football.”

Ensuring that whilst in lockdown that the squad are continuing to keep their eye in, the coaching team at the U15’s have been hard at work with online sessions ensuring fitness but also entertainment.

“We have set a number of fitness challenges and targets for the players to help maintain their fitness during the current lockdown. These include daily step targets and other fitness exercises. The players have been set s number of challenges with a football to ensure that they maintain or even improve their ball control skills. 

“Our parent representative has organised a quiz, via Zoom, so that the players can chat and have some light-hearted fun later this month.

“We have a great squad and every girl gives their best in training and in matches. The coaches and I can’t wait for the lockdown to end so that we can work with this great set of players again”