Port Vale first team players, Cristian Montano, Tom Conlon, Ryan Lloyd and Ryan Campbell-Gordon, paid a visit to our younger generation of players last week to talk about their development in the game.
Academy players from the U9s, U10s and U11s teams were invited in for full days training during the recent half term break. As a change from their normal evening training regime, the lads were able to undergo more extensive pre-hab, re-hab and muscle preparation work as well as participate in specialist yoga exercises.
The boys also had the opportunity to spend time watching both the Youth Team and First Team during training and then meet with members of the first team for a detailed question and answer session.
The U9s and U10s spent time in discussion with Ryan Campbell-Gordon and Cristian Montano who both explained the development of their careers and experience in the game. The contrast between Ryan as a first year pro just beginning his career and Monty who started in the West Ham Academy U10s and has now played 250 games for a number of EFL clubs, resulted in an interesting range of questions for both players.
The following day the U11s were then invited to meet with Ryan Lloyd and Tom Conlon. Ryan was able to talk about what it’s like to progress through the Academy ranks from U8 right through to first team at one club and explained the hard work necessary to achieve that success. Tom was able to talk about what it is like to be released both as an Academy player and also as a First Team player, and the determination that is required to overcome such setbacks. He was also able to explain what it’s like to be out on the sidelines recovering from a long term injury.
Both sessions enabled the players to discuss with the lads the values needed to become a good pro footballer including attitude, respect and the will to listen and work hard. They also spoke about the need for a good back up plan in terms of an alternative career path just in case.
The Academy’s Lead Foundation Phase Coach Callum Rollings was pleased with the way the sessions went.
“It was a good opportunity to get the boys into the Club for additional training and conditioning work during their school break.
“Being able to meet the players face to face and interact with them was a great added experience, the players were open and honest with them and the lads took a great deal from the Q&A sessions.
“I’d like to thank the players for the time that they spent with the lads. Everyone agreed it was very worthwhile and it’s certainly something that we’ll be looking to repeat in the future.”