Club to close girls’ pathway for season 24/25 – Lewes Community Football Club

Club to close girls’ pathway for season 24/25

Club to close girls’ pathway for season 24/25

Women's football news

Written by: Jack

On the back of the 2023/24 season which sadly resulted in relegation for our women’s first team, the Board of Directors have undertaken a lengthy evaluation process, with a view to stabilising club operations in the 2024/25 season to create a future platform for growth.

With the development of the Women’s game, the operating standards and expectations have grown exponentially without requisite centralised funding to match. Youth football is becoming increasingly competitive and expensive without any guarantees or robust compensation processes to safeguard talent.

The club is proud of the achievements of our exceptional pathway staff Kerri Coombs and Tim Heal who have dramatically enhanced the offer to our youth girls over the last two seasons, providing much better one-to-one, 360 care and significantly better technical and tactical support. We are proud that they have managed to place and support a number of our youth players into adult football to continue their development and supported others into Professional Game Academies, which Lewes does not yet have the resources to fund.

The review has highlighted that, in order to develop and retain players with the hope of them one-day progressing as professionals, it requires significant and dedicated investment, time and resources. We do not wish to run a youth set-up that does not provide the support and resources that these players need and deserve.

We have therefore decided to pause the current holistic approach to our girls’ football pathway during season 2024/25, whilst still retaining some youth talent within our first team set-up. While this decision was not made lightly, we believe it is essential to provide clarity and stability, consolidate our efforts, refine our strategies, and then focus on re-growing our girls’ program in the future.

From next season, the club will no longer be running a pathway.

We will continue to support and focus on our ‘C’ group aged 16 – 20 which launched at the start of the 2023/24 season. The select group will benefit from increased first team training and contact time, paired with match maturation at senior level with local first teams along with holistic performance support. The board will confirm trial dates for the C group in due course.

While there will be fewer players involved, we intend that they will be of an increasingly high calibre over the coming seasons. The club will specialise in developing one age group rather than trying to master the whole talent spectrum. Budgets will be refocused so that we give ourselves the biggest possible chance to achieve our ultimate objectives.

The club are mindful of the impact of these proposals on the existing staff and players. We will look to offer whatever support we can over the coming weeks to all of those affected by this.

The decision made was not taken lightly, however we believe it is the correct one to ensure stability moving forward.

We would finally like to thank Kerri and Tim for their exceptional hard work over the last two seasons. Kerri has shown incredible talent in moving from a technical and tactical role to taking on a more strategic and holistic approach to youth talent development, managing the whole pathway, as well as providing leadership and support to the coaching team.

Tim, in addition to a school coaching role as part of his mandate at the club, has enhanced our coaching offer through technical and tactical expertise and strong relationships with players and parents alike. Both will be moving on at the end of this season and we wish them the absolute best in their future roles.

Lewes FC Board