ORIENT Youth Team Manager Andy Edwards is not resting on his laurels after a strong season with the Youth Team and is focussed on an even stronger campaign next season.
The Youth team had one of their more successful seasons in recent years after nearly winning the league and two players gaining professional contracts.
“It was disappointing not to win the league, but two of the players signed professional contracts, (Harry Lee and De’Reece Vanderhyde) and ultimately it is about the players progressing through the club. We have nine scholars and to get two coming through as professionals is what we would call a successful season. The results and where you finish in the league is a side issue to an extent.”
The hard work that the youth players put into pre-season was a large contribution to the successful season explained The O’s Youth boss.
“I think we have good players, they are technically good and physically able and we have a good team spirit, but they worked very hard through pre-season. I felt that we should have won the league and that we were the best side over the course of the season.
“We look to get the players out on loan and on work experience. We also look to get players out to the Conference and Conference South clubs. We had Alex Finney at Harlow and De’Reece Vanderhyde go to Welling United and Bishop’s Stortford, and those experiences are good for the players and we look to do that as early as we can. As soon as the players are ready we get them to have the experience of men’s football.”
There are many important improvements that are being made to the youth setup and Andy Edwards believes that this will help the squad next season.
“We are always looking for ways to improve, whether it is the players we sign or the coaching we deliver or the video analysis. It is very similar to the first team; we are always looking for ways to improve. Next year there will be a more structured coaching programme, every player will have a technical, tactical programme along with the generic coaching programme which will be implemented fully next season and will be good for them. Video analysis will be improved as a lot of players are visual learners. The club have also spent some money on the match facilities at Woodford Green so there will be better playing surfaces.”
Andy has high hopes for 2013-14 as he hopes to win the league and bring more youth players into professional contracts.
“It would be great for more players to become professionals next year, it would be satisfying for me to see Lee and Vanderhyde make an impact on the first team, and it is rewarding to see the young players playing in the first team. That is the ultimate success, but I would like to win the league and I would like to get further in the youth cup as that is all good experience too.”