End of Season Review @ Diamonds Youth



AFC Rushden & Diamonds Under 13 Whites

League Champions

1AFC Rushden & Diamonds Whites U131411123134
2Corby Kingswood White U131410133531
3Ise Lodge Youth U13149233029
4Stewart & Lloyds Tigers U13148152225
5Corby Warriors Spartans U1314716-822
6Irchester Romans U1314608818
7AFC Rushden & Diamonds Blues U13141013-543
8Great Doddington U13141013-643


Our under 13 Whites top the table at the end of 2015-2016, they are the first team to win a league since South Rushden came together with AFC Rushden & Diamonds to form the community youth setup of AFC.

Jake Andrews, Charlie Broughton, Harry Cawley, Shane Cox, Adam Hardie, Callum HIibberd, Jack Hibberd, Dylan Hill, Adam Millar, Alfie Norman, Corey O`Keefe, Keenan Richards, Lewis Smith, Sam Szeclerkery, Rhys Taylor, Jake Trilk and Harry Warren.

And finally to Dan Richards and Damian Millar for coaching the boys through the season, I know how proud you are of your team.

Dan spoke shortly after the league had confirmed his team had won the competition.

 “I’m very proud of the boys, it’s taken two seasons and a lot of hard work to get to this point but we are finally champions! I think a lot of the credit should go to Mark Cullen for having the courage to take on the coaches, players and parents by challenging us to move to ability based teams when we changed from 9 to 11 aside. As difficult as it was at the time, ultimately this change has facilitated the development of both sets of players not just the Whites but the Blues too. When you consider that eight of the title winning team came from the Blues that’s a pretty good advert for development of players at our club. We haven’t got it right every time of course and I’ve made mistakes along the way but that’s how we learn as coaches.

‘It’s not just me that has put time and effort into these lads, my co-coaches at this age group, Damian Millar, Darren Fisher and Scott Bayes also deserve equal praise for their dedication and application during their time with the club, thank you gentlemen.

‘And to our players, thank you for your work over the last two years, I believed you could do it and I tried to instil in you the belief in you that you could, now you’ve gone one better and proved it to yourselves, you’re an inspiration to me.

‘Lastly to the parents of the players, thanks for standing in the rain, coming on sponsored walks, traveling around the county and supporting the team, the club and the coaches throughout. Special mention for the bearded Lino….’

A team that has more than the closure of the league season to reflect upon, our current Under 11’s will also see the departure of their manager in just a few weeks.

Neil Denny has been with the club for some 8 years and has two sons playing for us this season, the eldest was in this years under 16’s Galaxy who we have featured previously in a thrilling 1-1 draw over at Great Doddington, his younger son has been picked up by the MK Dons academy and will start next season as a player there, maybe have more reaction from Neil and Lucas in the future on that story, but sticking with Neil for the moment, I’d like to put on record our immense gratitude for all the time and effort he has put into making football an enjoyable part of the lives of the kids that were under his care, 2 teams, both of whom have performed very well this season as they have throughout his time with us, a great coach who will be sorely missed, not just by the club but by his players too, if you every want to come back Neil the door is wedged open for you. Thank you for all you have done and all the best for the future.


Neil is presented with a memento by our Treasurer

Let’s throw the spotlight on Neil’s (ably by Will and Marcus) under 11’s then, I think it’s probably right to assume that had they been in a competitive league then they would have been our second champions of the season as there record this year is phenomenal, here’s how their season ended;

Played   Won     Drawn    Lost    For      Against         GD      PTS

18           14          3              1          59       21                   +38     45

I have no doubt in my mind that this would have been a table topping season, can’t wait for the real thing next season, well done boys, proud to have you at AFC.

Neil’s Under 11’s squad with Will (left) looking after them last week at training



Massive congratulations to our Under 12 girls who, on a balmy Saturday morning, put Earls Barton to the sword in the League Cup Final.



Coming towards the end of this season Earls Barton had progressed significantly over the team that we had beaten in the league 14-0 in September last year, and so it proved with the game being quite an even, open game in the centre of the pitch, the biggest difference was our ability to play some lovely passing football when in the final third. Well done girls, coaches and parents you’re all amazing. Special mention to Stacey who after coaching our under 12’s went on to play in the Ladies plate final for Rothwell later in the day, they went down 4-0 to Woodford but how great that she got to play in her own final as well.

So, second honour of the season then for AFC Youth, there may well be one more in the offing as our Pan-disability open age side go into the final weekend sitting 2 points clear at the top of the table…. COME ON YOU STARS! I hope to get down and support the team in their final round of matches, be great to see them again. 

The end of season awards was attended by around a dozen of the coaches / volunteers from the youth section, a night thoroughly enjoyed by all,  especially I hope by the two people voted by the club as being manager and volunteer of the year  Dan Richards and Tracy Stephen. Dan as mentioned earlier led his under 13’s to the league title, whilst Tracy has worked hard over the last two seasons helping each team and the club organise its fundraising efforts. They are two people who give their time freely to make this club a success, these awards although given to these two recipients this year are really a token for every coach and volunteer who work tirelessly to enable the children of the local area to play the game they love.

This is not just at AFC, but at all the other clubs in the area without which we would have no one to play our matches against.

Dan Richards and Tracy Stephen with their awards

Another special mention, one of our under 8’s teams went unbeaten for the entire mini soccer season, an incredible achievement.

So the 2015-2016 season has been a very successful one both on and off the pitch with 2016 – 2017 already looming large on the horizon we have just completed the new parent and players pack. We have just put the applications in to the Weetabix, Northants Youth and Northamptonshire girls leagues for next seasons teams and will get our players registered in the next few weeks.

We will have one new team in the Girls under 11’s next season and we will have a first when we enter an under 11’s team into the Northants Youth development league.

I hope 16-17 is as good as this season has been.

Shine on you crazy little Diamonds.

Wanted for next season

We are looking for players for several teams next season so if you know anyone who would like to play for us, please contact us to arrange trials @ mark.cullen@afcdiamonds.com

Mixed teams

Under 10’s – will be in school year 5 from September

Under 11’s – will be in school year 6 from September

Under 14’s – (Goalkeeper) will be in school year 11 from September

Girls teams

Under 12’s – will be in school years 6 or 7 from September

Under 14’s – will be in school years 8 or 9 from September

Coaches & Volunteers

If you are looking to get involved in coaching, we can offer you support and training whilst getting experience coaching one of our youth teams. We are committed to helping our coaches to progress through the F.A coaching pathway.

If coaching isn’t your thing but you could help us with the running of the youth teams, from aiding the coaches run their teams to helping Tracy put together our fundraising events, any time you can offer would be gratefully accepted.


Please get in touch if you think you would like to help in anyway; mark.cullen@afcdiamonds.com