AFC Sudbury Academy have raised the bar for future success says club's director of football and youth development Danny Laws
Danny Laws believes the current crop of AFC Sudbury Academy players have helped to raise the bar for future success at the club.
Victory in Friday’s Thurlow Nunn Youth League Championship final against Walsham-le-Willows (7.30pm) would take the full-time students’ trophy haul this season to six.
That does not include being runners-up in a national competition, achieving promotion in an adult league with under-17s and reaching another final before losing narrowly to a side several divisions above themselves.
“It has been a different challenge for us this year,” said Laws, AFC Sudbury’s director of football and youth development.
“We like to challenge ourselves here and we have been successful in competing on all fronts and we have had the AoC Sport England Colleges (FA) Under-19 National Knockout Trophy final as well.”
Having watched two under-18s academy sides lift county cup trophies at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road this week, he said it is Craig Power’s new AFC Sudbury A team, made up of first-year scholars, who have helped them take the biggest step forward this season.
Making their debut in the Essex & Suffolk Border League they won promotion last Tuesday from Division Two as runners-up behind undefeated Stanway Pegasus.
But they also made it to three adult cup finals, winning two, including the Suffolk Primary Cup final on Monday.
“It has been a huge achievement and proves the strength in depth at this football club,” said Laws.
“It makes me amazingly proud and the players and staff here are testament to the incredibly hard graft we put in.”
Asked for the secret to their continued success, Laws replied: “It is our full-time programme, which is a highly planned and structured initiative.”
But as always, he said there is plenty more to achieve.
“We have a full-time girls’ academy next year that will be entering the Suffolk Women’s Cup, so why can’t we get Sudbury sides to all five finals?”
AFC Sudbury Under-18s will be looking to make it a fourth straight Thurlow Nunn Youth League Championship tomorrow night but it will not quite be the club’s last game of the season. On Tuesday, 19 boys and four girls, all first years, will jet off to Las Vegas along with the academy coaches, chairman Andrew Long and first-team manager Mark Morsley for their annual tour.
They will take part in the Albion Soccer Club Las Vegas Memorial Day tournament, run over three days from Saturday, hoping to make it past the group stages to Monday’s semi-finals and final.