It’s been a season like no other and hopefully we’ll never see it again.
YOUTH: You have to remember what you are trying to accomplish
May 11, 2021
We caught up with academy director Eric Kinder to get his thoughts on what it had been like to deal with the under-18 age group and to see if he had experienced anything similar before.
“No, nothing nearby,” he insisted. “The world was turned upside down, didn’t it, and I remember at the beginning everything people asked us what we were going to do.
“There was no way to answer these questions because there was nothing to compare to. This has never happened before in all of the history of the world, so it wasn’t like we could look back and say, oh yeah, that’s what we did in 1865. There is simply has no reference.
“It was new to everyone, and if you look at what’s going on in India, you can see we’re not done yet. Looking at this you can see that we have done very well in this country even though some mistakes were made. But you will always have mistakes when you come across something so new and of this magnitude. “
“On the football side, I think it’s amazing how we managed to lead a season at all levels, and that from the Premier League to the Conference and internationally,” he continued. . “We finished our championship season on April 30 and started on September 8, and we went through it two weeks ahead of what we would be if it had been a normal season.
“On this occasion we have to say that football authorities at all levels have done well to bring us to a position where we could do it and dust it off. There were strict match day protocols, complicated testing regimes and all kinds of stuff. I think we have all done well under very trying circumstances.
Was it difficult to manage a group of relatively young men through it all?
“You would think so, but I never saw any adverse reaction from any of them,” he replied. “The first years adapted so quickly, which is unusual, and the second years hit it off.
“It was a really happy group with great focus. There are always little things to sort out, and you have guys who are louder than the rest, but I really haven’t seen a bunch of guys closer than this.
“We had 17 young people aged 16 to 18 who were very close and who worked hard together. When we had the little fallout that occurs in any area of life, it was quickly resolved.
“In fact, it didn’t happen because they gelled so well. You can see in games when they’re doing it right, or scoring goals, they’re celebrating together.
“I found out that some of them had met on a Saturday night in one of their homes, which didn’t go too well because we hadn’t finished the season, but it didn’t go too well. There was no fallout either.
“We had a few instances where we had to deal in private, but it was easy to work with them as a bunch of guys. I must congratulate them for that.
YOUTH: It turned out to be a very good season
May 6, 2021
Part of the weirdness of the season has been seeing parents and authorized family members watching the games at Creighton from the adjacent field, socially distant and elevated on a shore above the playing area.
“It’s actually the best view of the game you can get,” he insisted. “If I was a parent and came next season and the restrictions were lifted, I would still go up there. It is a dazzling sight.
“You get to see the movement and how the play passages develop. I’ve been up there and it’s nice to be able to see exactly where the players are at certain points in the game, you can see it all perfectly.
With 2020/21 completed, the focus is now on next season and returning to work in July.
“We started preparing a while ago, with recruiting and things like that, and also with planning for our preseason and the early stages of the campaign,” he confirmed. “Mark Birch is really important for that. He had a huge contribution.
“When I was here before, I worked alone for the most part, certainly on the football side. I recruited, picked the team, and had a physiotherapy and strength trainer to help me out. Dave Wilkes looked after the 9 to 16 year olds and I took care of the 18 year olds.
“The EPPP stepped in when I left here for Blackburn, and an assistant was appointed. Then in Exeter I was the assistant, and in the seven years I was away, that had changed completely.
“The staffing model has changed, because of the audit, and Mark is at the forefront on game days. We work together during the week, but I’m very behind him once a match starts.
“Hope I helped him figure out small areas, like not having free game dates when the weather is nice, for example, because you’re going to have to play 10 games in March and April.
“If your matches have stacked up over the past two months, you may find that you lost your second year by then and you have to play a lot under 16. This means you can’t end the season properly, and it can get frustrating for everyone.
“Mark is central to all the planning and he will be doing a lot of preparation for the team next season.”