Academy and Feniton FC host another successful eventExeter City Academy’s annual youth 6-a-side tournament was once again hosted at Feniton Football Club, and 160 teams from across nine age-groups enjoyed playing the beautiful game in ideal conditions for football over the weekend.
The tournament also acted as a fundraising initiative for the Academy, who continue to supply the Exeter City first team with players every year. Amongst the referees were Joe Charles, Josh Read, Alex Byrne and Cameron Gill – the four newest Exeter City Academy graduates, who will join the Grecians’ senior squad this summer.
It is the 13th year that Feniton FC has hosted the Grecians’ Academy tournament – the showpiece summer youth competition in the region – with non-stop action taking place across 12 pitches over Saturday and Sunday.
Prizes were on offer for the winners from each age group, ranging from under-7 to under-15. However the most important aspect was participation and fun for over a thousand aspiring young footballers from Exeter and Devon.
Focus, as always, was on fair-play, good football and development of core skills. Games were played in a sportsmanlike way and parents and coaches also showed the respect and positivity that have become a hallmark of the tournament.
It also allowed Exeter City coaches to see young footballers in action – every year, new talented players are identified and scouted at the Feniton tournament, with a view to them joining the club’s Academy.
In attendance on the Sunday afternoon was Sean Goss, who handed out trophies, signed autographs and posed for photos. A member of Exeter’s Academy since the age of eight, 19-year-old Goss played in the Feniton tournament every year before being signed by Manchester United in 2012. Now a pro with the Red Devils, he helped the team to the Under-21 Premier League title this season – just the day before, he had lined up in a U21 derby against Man City.
As always, the smooth running of the day relied on the help of volunteers – which included club staff, the Exeter City Football in the Community department, coaches and parents.
Academy Manager Simon Hayward said: “We’re delighted that we have once again held another successful tournament in Feniton. The money we raise at the tournament helps to fund our youth development, and it gives hundreds of talented young players the opportunity to take part in a fun and competitive environment.
“We owe huge thanks once again to Feniton Football Club for being exceptional hosts for our festival of football. We are also grateful to the army of volunteers that made the event possible – that includes parents, coaches, club staff and supporter groups, who have pitched in wherever they can over the two days.
“It was terrific to see Sean Goss at the event – all aspiring young footballers can take inspiration from what he has achieved already at a young age with Manchester United and hopefully many more players from our Academy can go on and follow in his footsteps. Matt Grimes also featured refereed at the tournament two years ago and regularly played in the event many times as a youngster, and now he is a Premier League player with Swansea City.
“Once again this year’s tournament proved that there is a wealth of talent in Devon, and hopefully some of those involved will go on and play at professional level someday. But whether the kids involved won or lost, they all had a fantastic time and enjoyed their football – and that is the most important aspect.”