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My son currently plays for Mousehole Dev team in the St Pirans League. Currently they're doing well and are hoping to be considered for promotion if they do well enough. My understanding is that the team cannot be promoted if the 1st team don't move up due to the 1 league gap rule. Just wandering if this is correct? Some of the younger lads aspire to play for the 1st team in the future but I feel that the gulf between St Pirans league and toolstation league is massive. Would the league be able to change the rules / structure to remove the 1 gap league rule? Would be a shame to stop a group of talented players who want to progress with their club to be held back by this rule. I think playing in the Swpl would benefit the younger players in their development. 

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You’re correct about the league gap rule - a reserve or development team can only play at Step 6 if the first team is Step 4 or higher.

Personally I can’t see what the upside of this rule is - it just creates too big a leap for many players - especially younger players - to make the step up. Can anyone shed some light on why the rule exists? 

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It’s historic. 
 

There have been many cases of reserve sides being registered as new name club to get entry higher up mostly in the SE. But the FA cottoned in to his and as it’s an FA allocation it’s unlikely to work these days. 
 

Plus there’s the added danger if you do that and the step 5 side goes pop, you’ve no reserves as a fall back. 

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Semantics I know but the NLS Regulation says 'gap' not 'difference'.  Gap would mean the first team would have to be at Step 3 for the development/reserves to enter Step 6. Difference would mean Step 4.  I suspect it means that currently the only reserve side in St Piran that could be promoted would be Truro Reserves.

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19 minutes ago, Steve Carpenter said:

Semantics I know but the NLS Regulation says 'gap' not 'difference'.  Gap would mean the first team would have to be at Step 3 for the development/reserves to enter Step 6. Difference would mean Step 4.  I suspect it means that currently the only reserve side in St Piran that could be promoted would be Truro Reserves.

Thank you Steve. Do you think that this rule could be changed to keep local young talent together hopefully feeding into the 1st teams as the players mature physically and with more playing experience? Just seems wrong to stop talent progressing and potentially splitting up. Maybe if the higher team were relegated than both teams could be put down. Just ideas and maybe my naivety. Thanks

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1 minute ago, Dave Deacon said:

But young players develop at different speeds, are you suggesting all the squad will be comfortable playing at a higher level or will your suggestion put some of the 'group' under unnecessary pressure?

I suppose I'm suggesting that if the current group of lads win promotion by their efforts and ability then could they be moved into the swpl? Although the team is mixed with some older players the majority of the team are aged 19 or younger and appear be able to play cope with the physical aspects of the game already. 

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30 minutes ago, FootballDad said:

could they be moved into the swpl?

Then you're back to only if whatever movements upwards stay within the FA regulations

4 minutes ago, Box 2 Box said:

Mousehole should follow Helston’s lead and partner with a step 6 club, to provide a future pathway. 

Charlie Willis from Mousehole already made some appearances for Wadebridge  👍

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6 minutes ago, Dave Deacon said:

Then you're back to only if whatever movements upwards stay within the FA regulations

Charlie Willis from Mousehole already made some appearances for Wadebridge  👍

Yes, that's my point loosing local talent to travel to another team. If the development team (big if they win promotion) cannot progress upwards due to the rules then the current batch of players may have to follow Charlies path. Which seems crazy to me. But if the Dev team could naturally progress then lads like Charlie wouldn't have to leave their clubs but could still develop and if good enough progress onwards within the club. Looks like I'm being naive and rules can't be changed. Really appreciate your input though. 

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2 hours ago, FootballDad said:

Yes, that's my point loosing local talent to travel to another team. If the development team (big if they win promotion) cannot progress upwards due to the rules then the current batch of players may have to follow Charlies path. Which seems crazy to me. But if the Dev team could naturally progress then lads like Charlie wouldn't have to leave their clubs but could still develop and if good enough progress onwards within the club. Looks like I'm being naive and rules can't be changed. Really appreciate your input though. 

Not crazy though, that is how it is around the whole country. What is a shame is that we don't have more floodlit U21/U23 football to allow these players more chances to play and step up slowly, then joining the first team when ready.

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1 hour ago, St Darren said:

Why does it matter who they play for if they develop? Surely the natural progression is to do well for a team and then get picked up by a team in a higher league and progress from there! 

Like I said, it's Mousehole 2nd team. Are they all signed on for the first team?? 

As explained in the 1st text I think the gulf from St Pirans to Toolstation is massive. If the younger players have the ability to play in the swpl then that would surely be better for their development. Just don't understand why the rule is in place to have the gap between teams. Some players would like to stay with their local clubs rather than travelling to another team. 

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8 hours ago, bighairydave said:

Not crazy though, that is how it is around the whole country. What is a shame is that we don't have more floodlit U21/U23 football to allow these players more chances to play and step up slowly, then joining the first team when ready.

That would be a great idea. It might be another way of reducing the drop out from football in the 16 to 19 age group. Unfortunately seen alot give up or become disappointed in the 16 to 19 age group. 

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36 minutes ago, FootballDad said:

As explained in the 1st text I think the gulf from St Pirans to Toolstation is massive. If the younger players have the ability to play in the swpl then that would surely be better for their development. Just don't understand why the rule is in place to have the gap between teams. Some players would like to stay with their local clubs rather than travelling to another team. 

Gap from st pirans to western is massive but so is the gap from peninsular to western, Iv seen a couple of your games and you would easily cope with peninsular now.  Also I assume with the ages you state, a few would probably be lost to university next year therefore likelihood is that the team will split up anyway . 

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13 hours ago, FootballDad said:

Thank you Steve. Do you think that this rule could be changed to keep local young talent together hopefully feeding into the 1st teams as the players mature physically and with more playing experience? Just seems wrong to stop talent progressing and potentially splitting up. Maybe if the higher team were relegated than both teams could be put down. Just ideas and maybe my naivety. Thanks

To be honest I think it's unlikely not least because the regulation also refers to clubs that have a close tie in also been prevented from competing above Step 6 so they've looked at all different angles when putting the wording together. That alone may make some clubs reluctant to partner.  The only way to try and get a change made would be to represent your case through Cornwall FA and see if got any support across the country. 

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45 minutes ago, Steve Carpenter said:

To be honest I think it's unlikely not least because the regulation also refers to clubs that have a close tie in also been prevented from competing above Step 6 so they've looked at all different angles when putting the wording together. That alone may make some clubs reluctant to partner.  The only way to try and get a change made would be to represent your case through Cornwall FA and see if got any support across the country. 

Thank you very much. I'll see how we get on for the rest of season. If we look like there's a possibility of going up without the 1sts gaining promotion then maybe I'll speak to people at the club and maybe other local clubs with the same constraint. Really appreciate your answer. 

1 hour ago, 6times said:

Gap from st pirans to western is massive but so is the gap from peninsular to western, Iv seen a couple of your games and you would easily cope with peninsular now.  Also I assume with the ages you state, a few would probably be lost to university next year therefore likelihood is that the team will split up anyway . 

I know a couple of the lads have applied to join the forces, so yes over the next couple of seasons we will have some loses from the team, but there is also a growing number of younger players at u18/16 within the club who will making the step up. I think there will always be demand to join teams like Mousehole, Helston, Truro, and Falmouth (reserve/development) teams for those aspiring to play at the highest level within the county. 

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12 minutes ago, FootballDad said:

I'll see how we get on for the rest of season. If we look like there's a possibility of going up without the 1sts gaining promotion then maybe I'll speak to people at the club and maybe other local clubs with the same constraint.

Be too late then to get anything changed (if it is possible anyway)!

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3 hours ago, Xanie25 said:

There are alot of clubs with 1st teams that offer the opportunity to play at a young age. My son played at 16 for Millbrook first team and is still playing in that squad at 23yrs old and surrounded by younger players this season. He has been able to develop and has learnt a great deal 

Thank you. Did your son start playing regular 1st team for Millbrook at 16? Was that in the swpl? 

3 hours ago, Dave Deacon said:

Be too late then to get anything changed (if it is possible anyway)!

Thank you Dave. If we were able to approach the County FA about the trying to change the rule, when would this have to be done by? And again I'm very naive to the rules etc, do you think it's worth pursuing? 

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10 minutes ago, FootballDad said:

Thank you. Did your son start playing regular 1st team for Millbrook at 16? Was that in the swpl? 

Thank you Dave. If we were able to approach the County FA about the trying to change the rule, when would this have to be done by? And again I'm very naive to the rules etc, do you think it's worth pursuing? 

Thought you were a football dad , approach the fa !! that’s the job of a club chairman/secretary , not a busy parent , probably best  to just let your kid  get on with it . 

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1 hour ago, 6times said:

Thought you were a football dad , approach the fa !! that’s the job of a club chairman/secretary , not a busy parent , probably best  to just let your kid  get on with it . 

Thanks. Like I mentioned earlier I'm very naive to the workings of the football world. Just saw something that didn't make sense to me and was hoping to get some feedback why the rules stand as they are, and if possible change them for the better. 

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3 hours ago, FootballDad said:

If we were able to approach the County FA about the trying to change the rule, when would this have to be done by?

Where the FA itself would be involved, probably about at least 4 seasons ago!

In all seriousness though, you need to discuss it with your club and they would be the ones to talk it through with the County FA.

 

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34 minutes ago, Dave Deacon said:

Where the FA itself would be involved, probably about at least 4 seasons ago!

In all seriousness though, you need to discuss it with your club and they would be the ones to talk it through with the County FA.

 

Thank you very much for your help and advice. 

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It does seem strange to have this required gap -  but it is what it is. 

The transition from youth football to adult football is not easy and having been youth sec at Wendron for 11yrs I have seen successes and failures.  I claim no expertise and I have regrets.  So the only advice I would give to parents and players at 16 is to have a long hard look at why you play and be honest with yourself.  Its only a sport and life is also elsewhere.

  1. Are you playing for your parents.
  2. you playing for fun with your mates and the craic
  3. are you playing to keep fit
  4. have you aspirations to play as high a level as possible and the commitment to alter your life and job to accomodate what is required. Because that will be what is required.  But more important do you have the commitment .  If you or a parent are reading this then take it from me you are not on the path to being a professional footballer.  This is not the route to it.  At best you will play semi-professional with the empahsis on the semi.  At 16 if you are not at an academy then the % of being anything fulltime is in the miniscule immeasurable amount. and quite frankly if you have the determination and talent you should not be taking advice from an internet forum 😀

The 1st is the hardest for parents to admit and let go.  There are many players who at 16 are brilliant. They would have been brilliant in any sport, but at 16 they realise that they can now say NO to their parents, stop and do something else - surf , run etc .  This probably accounts for 50% of the drop out of the super talented players.  

2nd is probably the main reason you carry on after 16.  You enjoy it and you will make up the bulk of all football in Cornwall.  Have a great time, enjoy the wins, forget the losses and get the memories.  You are free spirits but try not too drink too many - go where you want, do what you want and remember always enjoy it as you fittness and health is not guaranteed.

3rd is a very small proportion probably.  Its why I started my son playing at 6. Keep him active and fit.  Little did I know by 11years old he had worked it out and became a GK so he didn't have to be aerobic and chase down the ball and players if he could stand still and they came to him!! Sometimes laziness or genetics just takes over 😅

4th on the list and the one that will be the most controversial but the most interest to middle aged grumpy men like myself on this forum.  Step 6 & 5  are in that grey area of dark money.  You'll be living the life of a cog in the serious business of keeping bar :drink:takings high at whatever club your playing at.  Step 4 , 3 and above, still a cog but now in the realm of serious business plans & corporate sponsors💰, topped up by bar money. On the plus side - managers who know what they are doing and not just making it up as they go along, great coaching and the possibilty of earning a match fee that is deserving of your talent and commitment so far🤑.  To me Step 3 and above get their players by "trickle down" from academies, not so much by "trickle up" from the Steps below so my advice is:- 

For young players with dreams, Cornwall will be a dissapointing place to be. Don't take it personally - its the geography.   The team you grew up with will soon be no longer.  All are moving on with their lives - new colleges, possible college football, perhaps a USA scholarship. Truro College played at the highest level in the NYFL U19 league and played against the best non-academy players in the country. The year before Covid they reached the Final of the National Cup. If geography did not prevent players from taking part in the trials arranged in the Midlands perhaps this list would be different Past Players - Pro and Non League Playing Contracts (nfyl.co.uk) However this route now looks to be over for those who did not have a life plan outside football as Truro College don't seem to be listed on the existing roster of College/Foundation teams which is a shame. 

After turning 18 there will be university, apprentiships or work and then commitment to Saturday football is difficult.   Your 'trickle up' routes are very limited and blocked by those 'trickling down' with more experiance or contacts. 

So progress will come from playing , being seen and luck.  Play at the highest level that means you start & play 80+ minutes, learn and then hope you get spotted and move up a level , recognize you're in Cornwall , miles from anywhere and don't be upset if you're not spotted and certainly don't sit on the bench and waste your youth waiting to go on for the last 10 minutes of a game. But you just never know who is watching and if no one is at least you're playing and enjoying the moment and will have the memories   

 

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, JJS said:

It does seem strange to have this required gap -  but it is what it is. 

The transition from youth football to adult football is not easy and having been youth sec at Wendron for 11yrs I have seen successes and failures.  I claim no expertise and I have regrets.  So the only advice I would give to parents and players at 16 is to have a long hard look at why you play and be honest with yourself.  Its only a sport and life is also elsewhere.

  1. Are you playing for your parents.
  2. you playing for fun with your mates and the craic
  3. are you playing to keep fit
  4. have you aspirations to play as high a level as possible and the commitment to alter your life and job to accomodate what is required. Because that will be what is required.  But more important do you have the commitment .  If you or a parent are reading this then take it from me you are not on the path to being a professional footballer.  This is not the route to it.  At best you will play semi-professional with the empahsis on the semi.  At 16 if you are not at an academy then the % of being anything fulltime is in the miniscule immeasurable amount. and quite frankly if you have the determination and talent you should not be taking advice from an internet forum 😀

The 1st is the hardest for parents to admit and let go.  There are many players who at 16 are brilliant. They would have been brilliant in any sport, but at 16 they realise that they can now say NO to their parents, stop and do something else - surf , run etc .  This probably accounts for 50% of the drop out of the super talented players.  

2nd is probably the main reason you carry on after 16.  You enjoy it and you will make up the bulk of all football in Cornwall.  Have a great time, enjoy the wins, forget the losses and get the memories.  You are free spirits but try not too drink too many - go where you want, do what you want and remember always enjoy it as you fittness and health is not guaranteed.

3rd is a very small proportion probably.  Its why I started my son playing at 6. Keep him active and fit.  Little did I know by 11years old he had worked it out and became a GK so he didn't have to be aerobic and chase down the ball and players if he could stand still and they came to him!! Sometimes laziness or genetics just takes over 😅

4th on the list and the one that will be the most controversial but the most interest to middle aged grumpy men like myself on this forum.  Step 6 & 5  are in that grey area of dark money.  You'll be living the life of a cog in the serious business of keeping bar :drink:takings high at whatever club your playing at.  Step 4 , 3 and above, still a cog but now in the realm of serious business plans & corporate sponsors💰, topped up by bar money. On the plus side - managers who know what they are doing and not just making it up as they go along, great coaching and the possibilty of earning a match fee that is deserving of your talent and commitment so far🤑.  To me Step 3 and above get their players by "trickle down" from academies, not so much by "trickle up" from the Steps below so my advice is:- 

For young players with dreams, Cornwall will be a dissapointing place to be. Don't take it personally - its the geography.   The team you grew up with will soon be no longer.  All are moving on with their lives - new colleges, possible college football, perhaps a USA scholarship. Truro College played at the highest level in the NYFL U19 league and played against the best non-academy players in the country. The year before Covid they reached the Final of the National Cup. If geography did not prevent players from taking part in the trials arranged in the Midlands perhaps this list would be different Past Players - Pro and Non League Playing Contracts (nfyl.co.uk) However this route now looks to be over for those who did not have a life plan outside football as Truro College don't seem to be listed on the existing roster of College/Foundation teams which is a shame. 

After turning 18 there will be university, apprentiships or work and then commitment to Saturday football is difficult.   Your 'trickle up' routes are very limited and blocked by those 'trickling down' with more experiance or contacts. 

So progress will come from playing , being seen and luck.  Play at the highest level that means you start & play 80+ minutes, learn and then hope you get spotted and move up a level , recognize you're in Cornwall , miles from anywhere and don't be upset if you're not spotted and certainly don't sit on the bench and waste your youth waiting to go on for the last 10 minutes of a game. But you just never know who is watching and if no one is at least you're playing and enjoying the moment and will have the memories   

 

 

 

 

Thankyou Jonathan. Yes completely agree with your points. Yes as my son moved from youth football to adult football it was a steep learning curve and our expectations (player/parent) were soon put into reality. Luckily he was well supported by the team at Mousehole which kept his enthusiasm going. For my son all he aspires to do is play at the highest level locally. We're pretty realistic in our level and see my son being a reasonable local level football player, whether that is Swpl or Western league we will see in the next few years. I suppose what we would like to do is stay with the current team and move up naturally if they achieve the promotion. (Again a big if). Obviously that can't happen at the moment due to current rules. Really appreciate your points. 

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1 hour ago, Box 2 Box said:

A brilliantly written post and one I hope the senior management at Mousehole read! They need to stop selling unachievable dreams to local kids disguising it as a development team.. lads ready for SWPL should be looking at the likes of Penzance.

I don't think Mousehole are selling anything that other local toolstation sides such as Falmouth and Helston are doing with their reserve/development sides. We like Mousehole as a club and the way they play and think its the perfect environment for our son but most importantly it's where he wants to be. Penzance the only other local SWPL side have their own bunch of talented youngsters pushing on into their 1st team. 

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3 hours ago, Box 2 Box said:

Tom hands Josh storey Harrison Jewell at Helston

kayden Dunn James swan Cam Hutchinson Charlie Edney the Pick up boys at Falmouth 

Which of the regular Mousehole 1st eleven are local “non academy” players? Who has come through the development side and features regularly for the first team ?

JJS advice is spot on, see it for what it is and enjoy playing football for fun 👍

Good luck to your boy if he’s happy and healthy then you can’t ask for any more 👍👍

 

 

Thanks. With respect for me the point of the discussion is not what individual clubs do when picking their squads and developing their players. It's about the gap rule between the steps. What is the purpose of it? Can it be reviewed? If you want to start your own discussion on what clubs are the best please do so. 

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6 minutes ago, FootballDad said:

Thanks. With respect for me the point of the discussion is not what individual clubs do when picking their squads and developing their players. It's about the gap rule between the steps. What is the purpose of it? Can it be reviewed? If you want to start your own discussion on what clubs are the best please do so. 

Bit your son has the option to step up and play for another team in a higher league. 

The best thing that can happen for Mousehole second team is to just be the local team for local players plsying at a sustainable level that gives the opportunity for football to remsin in the community. 

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16 hours ago, Box 2 Box said:

Somof the younger lads aspire to play for the 1st team in the future but I feel that the gulf between St Pirans league and toolstation league is massive”.

apologies if I took your origanol post out of context. However which ever league Mousehole 2nds  “could” end up in, those lads won’t ever be regular starters in the 1st team. Unless they are ex academy.

Hence why Tom Hands is no longer at Mousehole but plays first team football at Helston…

To be honest on reflection my title is misleading. Should have been Feeder leagues. Yes agree that most won't make it to the western league maybe 1 or 2 but I do think the majority could play in the Swpl. 

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On 03/10/2022 at 20:31, JJS said:

It does seem strange to have this required gap -  but it is what it is. 

The transition from youth football to adult football is not easy and having been youth sec at Wendron for 11yrs I have seen successes and failures.  I claim no expertise and I have regrets.  So the only advice I would give to parents and players at 16 is to have a long hard look at why you play and be honest with yourself.  Its only a sport and life is also elsewhere.

  1. Are you playing for your parents.
  2. you playing for fun with your mates and the craic
  3. are you playing to keep fit
  4. have you aspirations to play as high a level as possible and the commitment to alter your life and job to accomodate what is required. Because that will be what is required.  But more important do you have the commitment .  If you or a parent are reading this then take it from me you are not on the path to being a professional footballer.  This is not the route to it.  At best you will play semi-professional with the empahsis on the semi.  At 16 if you are not at an academy then the % of being anything fulltime is in the miniscule immeasurable amount. and quite frankly if you have the determination and talent you should not be taking advice from an internet forum 😀

The 1st is the hardest for parents to admit and let go.  There are many players who at 16 are brilliant. They would have been brilliant in any sport, but at 16 they realise that they can now say NO to their parents, stop and do something else - surf , run etc .  This probably accounts for 50% of the drop out of the super talented players.  

2nd is probably the main reason you carry on after 16.  You enjoy it and you will make up the bulk of all football in Cornwall.  Have a great time, enjoy the wins, forget the losses and get the memories.  You are free spirits but try not too drink too many - go where you want, do what you want and remember always enjoy it as you fittness and health is not guaranteed.

3rd is a very small proportion probably.  Its why I started my son playing at 6. Keep him active and fit.  Little did I know by 11years old he had worked it out and became a GK so he didn't have to be aerobic and chase down the ball and players if he could stand still and they came to him!! Sometimes laziness or genetics just takes over 😅

4th on the list and the one that will be the most controversial but the most interest to middle aged grumpy men like myself on this forum.  Step 6 & 5  are in that grey area of dark money.  You'll be living the life of a cog in the serious business of keeping bar :drink:takings high at whatever club your playing at.  Step 4 , 3 and above, still a cog but now in the realm of serious business plans & corporate sponsors💰, topped up by bar money. On the plus side - managers who know what they are doing and not just making it up as they go along, great coaching and the possibilty of earning a match fee that is deserving of your talent and commitment so far🤑.  To me Step 3 and above get their players by "trickle down" from academies, not so much by "trickle up" from the Steps below so my advice is:- 

For young players with dreams, Cornwall will be a dissapointing place to be. Don't take it personally - its the geography.   The team you grew up with will soon be no longer.  All are moving on with their lives - new colleges, possible college football, perhaps a USA scholarship. Truro College played at the highest level in the NYFL U19 league and played against the best non-academy players in the country. The year before Covid they reached the Final of the National Cup. If geography did not prevent players from taking part in the trials arranged in the Midlands perhaps this list would be different Past Players - Pro and Non League Playing Contracts (nfyl.co.uk) However this route now looks to be over for those who did not have a life plan outside football as Truro College don't seem to be listed on the existing roster of College/Foundation teams which is a shame. 

After turning 18 there will be university, apprentiships or work and then commitment to Saturday football is difficult.   Your 'trickle up' routes are very limited and blocked by those 'trickling down' with more experiance or contacts. 

So progress will come from playing , being seen and luck.  Play at the highest level that means you start & play 80+ minutes, learn and then hope you get spotted and move up a level , recognize you're in Cornwall , miles from anywhere and don't be upset if you're not spotted and certainly don't sit on the bench and waste your youth waiting to go on for the last 10 minutes of a game. But you just never know who is watching and if no one is at least you're playing and enjoying the moment and will have the memories   

 

 

 

 

Fantastic post!

It's a football cultural thing in Cornwall which doesn't really apply in the majority of the country.  Cornwall closest Professional Club is Plymouth Argyle who play in League 1 (Old Division 2) and the closest to elite level is Southampton in the Premiership.  

In the rest of the country the path to professional football is very different.  If a player is any good at school they go onto play for their School District, the best of those players then go onto play for their County team where they will then be invited to play for local Academy clubs to the nearest professional side.   Professional clubs are two a penny in places around the inner cities. Absolutely nobody cares about little village, town youth sides unless they have been scouted as exceptional because at that point if they are not playing at academy level it is very unlikely they are at a standard to make it professionally.  There are massive exceptions to this as you have seen with Vardy.

Academy football is a massive churn of players each year, it is BRUTAL! Players will be told in front of their parents just before they are 16 if they are going to be given an apprenticeship (the old Youth Training Scheme) with a club, the likes of Rooney all went through this.  At 18, the absolute exceptional players in Academy will be given a contract, it is at that point players who are not given a contract play  exhibition games in front of lower league scouts to try and get picked up in lower league sides. This is another brutal process.  

It is at this point players try to play for non league sides where essentially it is semi pro football, again there are exceptionally talented players at these clubs but just haven't quite made it.  But the reality in the rest of the country is that academy football produces a serious amount of players at this standard each year. Below National League,  many players don't get paid.  I have friends who play above Truro City level and they nearly spat their coffee out when they found out Truro City players was getting paid when their clubs only pay for their Underground pass or travel costs.  Clubs that many Cornish sides play in FA Cup are purely recreational sides and that is how the FA sees it above sadly.

Like it or not, the model I beleive Mousehole are taking are giving players I have described above another opportunity to work hard to get noticed and achieve that dream. With the right attitude anything is possible.

Another avenue which numerous players from Cornwall have taken is the scholarship opportunity in the USA which requires a level of academic grades at UK Higher Eduction to play football in USA colleges.  My Nephew went that path and whilst playing football at US College level also achieved his degree there a number of years ago.  Interesting, in US Soccer (Football) unless you have played at Elite College level, very much like the US American Football draft then after 21, you are pretty much on your own, although that appears to be slightly changing out there now.    

My advice to players in Cornwall, who have the attitude and ability is to take that route. There are many players in Cornwall who are at that standard now.

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19 hours ago, Richard Chown said:

Fantastic post!

It's a football cultural thing in Cornwall which doesn't really apply in the majority of the country.  Cornwall closest Professional Club is Plymouth Argyle who play in League 1 (Old Division 2) and the closest to elite level is Southampton in the Premiership.  

In the rest of the country the path to professional football is very different.  If a player is any good at school they go onto play for their School District, the best of those players then go onto play for their County team where they will then be invited to play for local Academy clubs to the nearest professional side.   Professional clubs are two a penny in places around the inner cities. Absolutely nobody cares about little village, town youth sides unless they have been scouted as exceptional because at that point if they are not playing at academy level it is very unlikely they are at a standard to make it professionally.  There are massive exceptions to this as you have seen with Vardy.

Academy football is a massive churn of players each year, it is BRUTAL! Players will be told in front of their parents just before they are 16 if they are going to be given an apprenticeship (the old Youth Training Scheme) with a club, the likes of Rooney all went through this.  At 18, the absolute exceptional players in Academy will be given a contract, it is at that point players who are not given a contract play  exhibition games in front of lower league scouts to try and get picked up in lower league sides. This is another brutal process.  

It is at this point players try to play for non league sides where essentially it is semi pro football, again there are exceptionally talented players at these clubs but just haven't quite made it.  But the reality in the rest of the country is that academy football produces a serious amount of players at this standard each year. Below National League,  many players don't get paid.  I have friends who play above Truro City level and they nearly spat their coffee out when they found out Truro City players was getting paid when their clubs only pay for their Underground pass or travel costs.  Clubs that many Cornish sides play in FA Cup are purely recreational sides and that is how the FA sees it above sadly.

Like it or not, the model I beleive Mousehole are taking are giving players I have described above another opportunity to work hard to get noticed and achieve that dream. With the right attitude anything is possible.

Another avenue which numerous players from Cornwall have taken is the scholarship opportunity in the USA which requires a level of academic grades at UK Higher Eduction to play football in USA colleges.  My Nephew went that path and whilst playing football at US College level also achieved his degree there a number of years ago.  Interesting, in US Soccer (Football) unless you have played at Elite College level, very much like the US American Football draft then after 21, you are pretty much on your own, although that appears to be slightly changing out there now.    

My advice to players in Cornwall, who have the attitude and ability is to take that route. There are many players in Cornwall who are at that standard now.

Thank you very much for this interesting to hear other people's journeys. I've had a few messages from dad's whose lads kept going and now grown men playing good local level football. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Noticed this post by Brightside on Non League Matters: https://nonleaguematters.co.uk/forums/index.php?threads/reserve-teams-how-high-can-they-go.1815/post-178965

Shows current reserve/development teams playing at step 6. These are officially-connected teams only rather than those that may have been set up as separate clubs. Summarised below. 

There are only eight spread across five leagues. One National League club; two step 3; five step 4  

Eastern Counties North: Leiston - 1st team Step 3; Needham Market - 1st team Step 3; AFC Sudbury - 1st team Step 4

Spartan South Midlands 1: Thame United -  1st team Step 4 

Hellenic 1: Kidlington - 1st team Step 4; Cirencester Town - 1st team Step 4

Southern Combination 1: Dorking Wanderers - 1st team Step 1

United Counties 1: Grantham Town - 1st team Step 4

 

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