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Home arrow Conference Premier & South arrow Dover Athletic has the best youth set-up in the south-east of England, says Will Graham
Friday, 19 December 2014
 
 
Dover Athletic has the best youth set-up in the south-east of England, says Will Graham PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 11 February 2012
WILL GRAHAM says Dover Athletic is the place for youngsters’ to play their football.



Graham, 26, who lives in Herne Bay, is the manager of the club’s under 15 side and he has guided the club to the summit of the Valley Express Kent County League Under 15 South Division with a record of ten wins and a draw from their thirteen league games.

The central defender spent four seasons in the successful Ramsgate team under boss Jim Ward and played under Clive Walker at Dover Athletic.

He has been coaching for the last ten years and holds a UEFA B license, Level Two Goalkeeper Award and Disabled Advanced Coaching Award.

He has worked for Soccer Elite FA, Kent Schools, Arsenal, New York Red Bulls and has been the manager of his current team since April 2010.

Graham will be able to show his managerial talents when his side lock horns with Maidstone United for a place in the Under 15 Kent Youth Cup Final on Sunday, 26 February (2pm).

Graham says his players are excited with the prospect of playing at Crabble, the Conference South club’s main stadium, which has excellent playing surface.

“We are expecting a very tough game against Maidstone,” he said.

“We beat them 3-1 in the league but they are a very strong team with Ben Swift, Liam McGarry, Dan Sharp and prolific Liam Mayhell, all quality players.

“The game at Crabble is going to be the highlight of this team’s young careers.  Also it will be a massive highlight of my coaching career so far.

“Mr Parmenter, Mr Knight, the board and Janet and Brian Butcher have been fantastic to make this event come true for the team and youth section.

“As you know most senior teams allow their youth to play at the stadium, so they lose that occasion that brings to them.  Well, Dover don’t let the youth normally use the stadium so to break their rules for us is fantastic.

And with the prospect of meeting either Canterbury City or Guru Nanak in the showpiece final, Graham added: “Yeah, we have a big rivalry with Canterbury City who have beaten us twice this season in the league and if we win we’ll meet them in the final and the third game won’t be as simple as the previous two for Canterbury.”

Graham explained why he has taken up a coaching role at such a young age and that he wants to become part of Nicky Forster’s coaching team in Conference South next season.

He said:  “Well, I basically decided to start a Dover Athletic under 15 team this time last year and worked really hard to advertise the trial and to my amazement we had 47 players from all over Kent arrive and the standard was really high.

“Since April 2011 we have only lost three competitive games, one to Bromley in the Cup and the other two against Canterbury City.

“I do this to improve my coaching.  I have no family member in the team.  I spend hours a week designing session plans, organising events and games etc.

“I am looking to take my UEFA A license in June this year and hope to progress into senior football coaching next season hopefully with Nicky Forster in the first team.

Dover Athletic are arguably one of Kent’s biggest non-league football club’s and Graham is pleased with the strides that the club have made in youth football.

Supporters’ of any club are always fond of a home-grown player, who has worked their way up through the ranks to represent the first team.

For example, Craig Cloke worked his way through the club’s ranks to star for Dover Athletic’s first team and now plays for Margate.  Other examples around Kent include Sonny Miles (Tonbridge Angels), James and Michael Everitt (Folkestone Invicta).

And Chris Smalling progressed from Maidstone United’s youth structure to star for Premier League sides Fulham and Manchester United and has played for his country.

Graham added:  “I would like to add regarding Dover Athletic Youth that we are the best non-league club in south-east England and everything we do as a section and club is professional and done the right way, so this event will really show this statement that Dover Athletic Football Club is the place to play your football.”

Ticket prices for this game have been confirmed at £3 (adults), £1 (under 16s), whilst under 5’s can watch the match for free.  There will be food and drink available on the day.

Visit Dover Athletic’s website: www.doverathletic.com
 
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