Community host over 1000 young footballersMore than 1400 players and parents were in attendance at Ludlow Football Stadium on Friday, as Shrewsbury Town in the Community hosted its Development Centre Football Festival.
Advanced Development Centres are set up by clubs across the country to give talented and gifted players the opportunity to access high quality professional coaching, and possibly progress further into academy football and beyond. Shrewsbury Town currently run two Advanced Development Centres, one of which is based in South Shropshire.
A total of 10 clubs brought teams competing in age groups ranging from 8-11, with Town fielding teams from both of their ADC’s. Fellow EFL clubs Derby County, Cardiff City, Newport County and Birmingham City made the trip to Ludlow, as did Premier League sides West Brom and Swansea City. AFC Telford, AFC Wrexham and Welsh Premier League side Newtown completed the line up.
The festival kicked off with the group stages, where Town’s Ludlow based teams got the tournament underway. The top two teams from each group would progress into their respective semi finals, where Town’s under 10’s from Ludlow went all the way!
They beat the likes of Swansea, West Brom and Newport County in the final, and will be presented with their trophy at Greenhous Meadow on Saturday at half time of Town’s game with Coventry.
The other winners on the day were Cardiff City (u8’s), Newport County (u9’s) and Swansea City (u11’s).
Friday’s festival also marked the official launch of the Ludlow Football Stadium partnership with Shrewsbury Town in the Community, as we become the official tenants of the stadium and responsible for the general running of the site on a long term lease.
Head of Community Jamie Edwards was in attendance at the festival, and said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic to see the facility fully utilised to its potential. To have the amount of players travelling some distances to be here, it’s been absolutely brilliant to see it.
“And to see the level of the children that are playing, and the quality that has been shown is brilliant.
“I was chatting to a few of the parents and its great to give children the opportunity to represent Shrewsbury Town and possibly progress into the academy.
“We’ve now got two development centres from eights to 11’s, there is a pathway there and it has been successful.
“But it’s also great for the children who don’t get into the academy, they still get to play against Premier League sides and it gives them memories, and shows the club in a good light all across the county.”
Speaking of the new partnership with Ludlow’s ground, he added: “For us it’s great to be able to reach out to one of the most rural areas of Shropshire, and make sure we’re engaging with the community. Not just the community of the town of Shrewsbury.
“Like I said this is a hugely rural place. It can take you 45-50 minutes to drive from Shrewsbury, yet its only 30 miles.
“So to give the people of South Shropshire the opportunity to engage in our programmes and hopefully become fans of the club is really important.”