Youth plans revealed

By Daniel Prince

South Shields Football Club is looking to “feed the passion of the community” as it seeks to expand its junior set-up.

Eleven youth teams play under the South Shields banner, and the club is looking for youngsters across South Tyneside to get involved.

The Northern League club sees an improved youth system as vital to its chances of future success, particularly in the current climate.

The Mariners last season played their ‘home’ games in Peterlee, but have big visions, including offering youngsters a pathway to professional football.

South Shields also plan to enter a team in the prestigious FA Youth Cup, and want to develop coaches within its set-up.

Youth coach Martin Urwin said: “For too long now, the club has been a stranger in its own town. The untapped potential of the club is enormous.

“Through this project, the club will feed the passion of its community while building a strong and lasting foundation for the people of the town, leading it to no longer be a stranger.

“This is more than a vision for local football – this is an opportunity for boys and girls to really grasp the idea of a local community, to take it to its heart and create history.”

The club is looking to recruit teams of all age groups – particularly Under-7s and Under-8s – and will support any coaching volunteers in their bid to gain their FA badges.

The Mariners also hope to form partnerships with schools, and are appealing for businesses to help sponsor the junior teams, which will play in competitions including the Russell Foster Youth League.

Youth coach Kevin Bolam added: “All coaches will be supported throughout, but must share our philosophy to let the kids play. We want to give children the opportunity to play the game in a structured environment, and a chance to play under the South Shields FC banner, a club full of history in the town.

“Our vision is to have team representation throughout the age groups, with an exit plan of playing for the senior side when their junior years are finished.”

Club chairman Gary Crutwell added: “As a football club, we have a role to play in the local community.

“What better way than to provide a focal point for all aspiring footballers, both male and female, to get involved and represent their town in leagues and tournaments, all over the North-East and abroad.”

Anyone interested in getting involved in the junior set-up at South Shields, through playing or coaching, can contact Mr Urwin at