HIGHLIGHT of the Colwyn Bay Academy 20/21 Awards night was a new Bryan Kelly award, in honour of the club’s late kit manager, for outstanding service to the wider community.
Academy Director Matt Sampson commented: “I was a friend of Bry and when I was originally here nine years ago, he and I spent a lot of time together. Then when I went further afield we regularly stayed in touch and I wanted to add a special award this year in his memory.
“I know how much he gave to the club, the community and the wider reach of doing better for others, so with that I wanted to create an award that reflects all of that and what we are looking for when we are developing and enveloping in our tagline, Great Players Better People.
“The humbling thing for me was the number of nominations we got given by coaches for what wonderful work some individuals within our Academy are doing within their own communities, but the winner was Evan Flint of our Under 14s, who helped prepare and deliver over 400 meals to families in Flintshire and Denbighshire who missed out on school meal payments during lockdown.
“He also had 100% attendance for all the sessions and matches, including our online technical and fitness sessions throughout the lockdown period.”
There were also three awards in each of the age categories (Manager’s award, Players’ player and Parents’ player) and congratulations to all the players on getting through such a tough season.
Matt Sampson added: “I know speaking to the coaches that picking their player was so tough due to the obvious difficulties we as a club have had to overcome.
“I mentioned to all my staff and the players/parents that the season we have just concluded will be the hardest we will ever face, and not many clubs can come out the other end saying there has been an improvement – but we can.
“A special congratulations and well done to all winners, but that doesn’t deter how much we value all our players and parents for what excellent work and commitment they’ve given us this year. That also goes to all the coaches who have been excellent.”
Director Matt Sampson reflects: “So when I came into the Academy and introduced myself to all the coaches, I mentioned the importance of a pathway. An opportunity for players with an aptitude towards football to have access to top class training sessions and for us to develop players and people, which starts with us and our new culture we are forming – The Bay Way.
“The Bay Way gives us a platform and a direction for all, a new philosophy, game model and cultural set of non-negotiables which puts us all on a clear alignment path.
“Despite the obvious issues regarding covid etc, we as an Academy had to change everything which was always going to be difficult.
“A change of culture, ethos, personnel and furthermore the disruptive season we have all endured made it such a challenge for us all – but we as a collective got through the other end.
“A special mention to all the coaches throughout each age group, who have been second to none in their commitment to their teams through the wholesale changes within the Academy set-up. I fully believe we are heading in the right direction, the pro-activeness of each Academy member has been tremendous, with the assistance of Lee Bubb, who over sees the Foundation phase, and Clive Rushton, who over sees the Youth set-up.
“Both have experience in running Academies before and know what it takes. Their knowledge and assistance to the staff has been top drawer and we can look forward to them continuing their mentorship for all our staff as the new season comes to a start. “
LOOKING AHEAD TO 21-22 SEASON
WE have been given our start dates and our fixtures and all age groups have now been informed of them.
We are going to be hosting our signing on nights for our Foundation Phase (U8-U11) on Monday 12th July, Youth (U12-U19) signing on night on the Tuesday 13th July. Our first training session will be on Wednesday 13th July, with our fixture scheduled for 17th July.
Matt Sampson added: “We have had such a quick turnaround, with just four weeks to get everything prepared and planned for the next season. It has been a challenge, but something that we feel we now have all the preparation for.
“We are moving towards every age group having two training sessions every week, Monday and Wednesday With our games for each age group already scheduled and set-up, we will be looking at approximately over 60 contactable days with each individual player, which is a huge improvement in contact time for individuals and will see our updated Game Model in place along with our new training programme implemented at all ages.”
All details will be passed onto each group through their respective Head of Phase and we look forward to welcoming everyone to the signing on nights ready for the new season starting.