Hard Work Pays Off For Harriers

Words by Adam (Harriers Manager)

 

It’s been over two years since the Harrier’s were formed as a fledgling under 9’s team. Our first game,
against an academy team, was a massacre but the team kept plugging away and eventually managed
a goal to take the hard edge away from the defeat – fast forward two years and the squad still has the
same backbone but we picked up a few landmark signings along the way, losing a couple to other

sports. This year we took a big step up moving up from 7 to 9 a side with a much bigger pitch size, off-sides, and no retreat to the half-way line from goal kicks. Rolling subs means we can give roughly

equal playing time but it also means the coaches are constantly petitioned to come on by the substitutes which can leave your ears ringing! We mainly play development games against other teams with the same ranking but with a twice-yearly foray into cup competitions – one a knockout cup and the other a champion’s league sort of set up.

The photo above this feature was taken last weekend just after we got knocked out, in the second round of the knockout cup, by a well drilled team from Edgeley Park. To the trained eye of an U11’s manager the accompanying photograph would tell you many things such as:

(1) There are ten players on the back row and only three at the front – this should tell you that the team, unless and sometimes despite being given clear direction, will often adopt a wholly inappropriate formation – work to be done there.

(2) They are looking in different directions – this is not good for the photograph but it shows that the team are aware of the space around them.

(3) There are neon bright training balls littered about – the colour choice indicates either/both wayward shooting or lack of interest in retrieval.

(4) They are all smiling despite the Siberian conditions and having just lost – this shows that they are showing strength and developing friendship through adversity.

It feels like we have come a long way since we started, becoming more a team as they have each become more aware of their own individual strengths and weaknesses and the collective strength of the team. I am amazed at the skills that some of them have (very few of which I have taught them) but the absolute best thing is when they get over a major development hurdle and suddenly find their place in the team.

Our successes to date have to be mainly attributed to the team but I should also mention the wider support we have from the club, our supportive and welcoming parent group, and from our team sponsor Chorlton Gas. I like to think our sponsorship deal has created warm feelings all around.