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Shadow Squad Success

Callum McKenzie talks about the success of the Shadow Group Programme

17 May 2017

Shrewsbury Town’s player pathway continues to go from strength to strength thanks to the Shadow Squads system.

The Shadow Squads have been working in conjunction with the clubs Academy over the last three years and has provided 30 players for the Academy in that time.

Academy Coach Callum McKenzie has been heavily involved in the Shadow Group programme over the last few years and gave ShrewsWeb an insight into what it is.

“Part of my remit is not only to coach the academy age groups, but it’s also to oversee the Shadow group programme from an Academy standpoint”, Callum said.

“We’ve had that programme in place for three years and each year it’s grown and we’ve added to it and adapted and I think we’ve got a really good model at the moment that seems to work.

“It’s basically a mirror image of the Academy. They train once a week and they play in a structured league programme on a Saturday.

“They’ve got a coach that oversees that in Kevin Speake who works tirelessly and they are all voluntary. Kev’s a successful businessman, but for the love of the game he’s fantastic in terms of recruitment and work ethic and we couldn’t have a better person in charge of that programme.”

Shrewsbury Town’s Academy has been very successful over recent years and Callum believes the Shadow Group programme gives players the best chance of making the step up from local league football to the Academy.

“We’ve had 30 players come through that programme in the last few years that have not only trialled with the Academy, but have registered with us as well”, said McKenzie.

“I remember when I first started at the club we didn’t have a pathway from grassroots into the Academy. We were relying on word of mouth or an email from parents or a scout sending a player in, whereas now we have a really structured Shadow Group programme.”

“We have a nice base to put players into where they represent Shrewsbury Town, they are exposed to the technical elements and concepts that we use in the Academy, so when they come into the Academy programme they are already familiar with how we work and how sessions are structured.”

If you think you have what it takes to be part of the Shadow Groups then we have trials coming up in June. Click here for more information.

Also, give the guys a follow on Twitter - @STFCShadowGroup

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