Academy Under 23s placed in Northants Combination Premier Division

AFC Rushden & Diamonds are delighted to announce that AFC Rushden & Diamonds Academy Under 23s have been placed in the Northamptonshire Combination Premier Division (Step 7) ahead of the 2022/23 season.

The Under 23s are a new team for the coming season and will be based at the Islip Sports Pavilion in Islip near Thrapston. The players will train twice a week alongside the 1st Team, and will also supplement their league matches with friendlies against professional academy sides. They will be coached by UEFA B license coaches (including UEFA B outfield, UEFA B goalkeeping and UEFA B futsal) to provide the best expertise possible.

The intention is to build upon the continued successes achieved through the development of players in ages of 17 to 23 at the club in the last couple of years, as seen through the recent promotion of four players to the first team in Will Jones, Fraser Corden, Charlie Nixon and Nigel Chikamba. It is the club’s ambition to focus upon attracting and retaining the best local talent by continuing to offer a player-centric development environment with a professional culture at the core to everything that is done so as to support young players on a pathway to the 1st team or higher.

This will complement our already successful partnership with Moulton College where both the Scholarship U19 and U23 teams play under the AFC Rushden & Diamonds banners having achieved success themselves this season with a cup final at West Bromwich Albion’s Hawthorns stadium and high league positions.

The Academy U21s will still remain in place, with the aim to provide an appropriate challenge and to  stretch the most able players. The team will continue play in the Midland Football League U21s league (MFL), and the men’s county cup competition.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds are also delighted to confirm that Richard Maxwell has been appointed to Lead of the Professional Development Phase to oversee both the Academy U21s and the Academy U23s. Richard has a great deal of experience and success developing players in this age group, having led the club’s U21s to a strong finish in the MFL last season and the semi-finals of the County Cup, having finished runners up in the league last season. He also holds a UEFA B and has recently passed his UEFA B Goalkeeping license.

Head of Academy Chris Willmott said: “Players need to be challenged and pushed to enhance their development and maximise their potential. The new teams in the PDP will offer our players exactly the challenge they need at this stage of their careers to help them to raise their game to the next level. Andy Burgess and I will be closely monitoring the progress of our young players throughout the season. There are certainly opportunities to be promoted to the first team squad for those players who excel in the PDP.”

Professional Development Phase Lead Richard Maxwell said: “These exciting new teams within the PDP phase will enable an appropriate stretched challenge for the most able, whilst providing the best support within a professional development environment. I am really excited about the pathway available for the top talented players and our enhanced ability to support Andy Burgess and Chris Willmott with the 1st team.”

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

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