Omar, Team Coach, Reflects on the Importance of Community Input
“Widmer End United U14 has been a fantastic platform for providing support within our local community to children from across the area. As coaches, we have always led our team with our ethos, respect the coach, our parents, players and match officials. Our team is widely recognised in our league for displaying exceptional standards, respect, passion and fair play and we regularly receive pleasant feedback from our opponents and match officials.
At Widmer we have built an environment that encourages our players to support each other both in training and matches. We have always tried to make a difference for all through football and learning and we see the positive effect this has had on our players who have developed both in sport and wider skills i.e. communication, teamwork, awareness, belief, commitment and leadership.
We are very grateful to our community who provides us valued support that helps with enhancing our club. It is our players who are the foundation of our team and who underpin our successes over the years.”
End of Season Notes from Nick, Team Manager
“Widmer End United U14’s started the 16/17 season having sustained a number of difficult changes. Not only had they lost their star striker to a 1st division team, but also their goalkeeper and several other key players. The long-term manager had left when his son joined another team.
The team, with several new players, a new manager, new kit and new sponsor (Support 4 Kids), started the season fantastically well with a 9-1 victory over Aylesbury United in the league cup. This result was swiftly followed by a draw and 4 amazing victories in the league. Although we were eventually knocked out of the cup by a team two divisions higher, our team found itself top of Division 4 for the first time ever, playing some of the best football we have ever seen. A particular highlight was a 5-3 home victory against the eventual Division 4 winners, Chalfont Saints. We remained the only team to beat them all season, a great achievement!
Unfortunately, because of a particularly wet winter, the team was unable to train regularly due to a waterlogged pitch. The lack of preparedness, affected the team’s form and going into the New Year, the team had some difficult games and disappointing results. Although promotion looked unlikely, the team returned to form as the weather improved and we ground out several great results.
Widmer End eventually finished the season in a very credible 4th place, our highest league finish ever. The highlight has to be the ‘5 game unbeaten run’ at the beginning of the season. All the players were full of confidence and although from different schools, areas and backgrounds really gelled as a team. Conversely, the big low was a shock thrashing by Aylesbury Utd in February which dashed our slim hopes of promotion.
Considering the challenges we faced going into the season, all the kids should be really proud of what they have achieved. The team finished ahead of several much bigger clubs with greater resources. All in all, we’ve shown what the team is potentially capable of in the next season.”
A Parent’s Thoughts
“All football clubs have personalities and finding one that matches what your child needs is never easy. If your child is a skilful player and cares mostly about winning matches, a club where success is the focus and where coaches drive the players hard would be a good match. Some clubs appeal because they have a close set of friends in their team, and it’s a bit like a home from home environment.
Sometimes, however, you find your child is at a club where there is a balance between the two and we are lucky enough to have watched the Widmer End under 14 team grow into such a place. Widmer End is not one of those clubs populated by a group of people who know each other at school, it’s a melting pot of children from a range of schools and from a range of backgrounds who come together to play football.
They come, not because they expect to win every week, but because it’s a place where they can play and not feel under undue pressure to perform. There is a lovely relaxed atmosphere about the club but this has been balanced in recent years by an increase in success. The team has grown to be competitive in its league and this season we have won more than we’ve lost, with even those losses being exciting, nail biting games where the final result could have swung either way.
Both the increasing success and the overall atmosphere have not come about by accident. The approach taken by the coach and manager in successive seasons has been to blend the introduction of new skills and team tactics with the freedom to just have fun. Win or lose, our coach always encourages our players, never singles anyone out for playing badly and emphasises team rather than individual success. We’ve played teams who warm up like an army on manoeuvres and whose coach continually screams at players from the side lines. As a parent, it’s not comfortable to watch as you can see the pressure the players feel under and know just how badly they would feel afterwards if they didn’t come up to the coach’s standards. Being part of a team that balances success with enjoyment is an absolute joy – long may it continue.”
& Guest Contributors