Our League will offer more 18-21 year olds the opportunity to remain in the game, says John D'Arcy

Wednesday 05th March 2014
NINETEEN clubs have outlined their interest in joining the NRG Gyms Under 21 Development League next season.

The League, which is run by the Kent County League, exploded into life this season with eight clubs; Herne Bay; Seven Acre & Sidcup; University of Kent, Bridon Ropes, Holmesdale, Soccer Elite FA; Tankerton and Lewisham Borough.

But following a meeting at The Kent Football Association on 7 February, there has been tremendous interest in the League’s plans and more higher league clubs have signed up for next season.

“With quite a lot of work undertaken since our open meeting on the 7th February 2014 there has been tremendous interest in our plans,” said League administrator John D’Arcy.

“Those in attendance have praised the ethos of the management committee as well as the plans to grow this competition across the county to offer clubs the opportunity to expand their portfolios and work in partnership to “Retain, Sustain and Develop” young players in an environment of low cost governance.

“There was initially interest from in excess of 30 clubs in our first push, some who were planning for years to come and not necessarily next season.

“Even though I do not intend to close the door on future interest there will come a point where I will need to cement the competition and ensure all the clubs registered comply with the administrative matters before the season begins.”

Mr D’Arcy has announced that with the support of their current teams the following clubs have now all registered their intention to join this exciting venture:

Bridon Ropes, Chatham Town, Deal Town Rangers, Dover Ranger Colts, Erith & Belvedere, Greenwich Borough, Herne Bay, Hollands & Blair, Holmesdale, Kent Football United, Kingfisher Glory, Lewisham Borough, Margate, Ramsgate, Soccer Elite FA, Seven Acre & Sidcup, South Ashford, Tankerton and University of Kent.

However, Mr D’Arcy said he is still awaiting a response from both VCD Athletic and Sevenoaks Town.

He added: “The level of support will enable the competition to expand 100% and offer more 18-21 year olds the opportunity to remain in the game.

“It will also enable the competition to run two geographical divisions which will support clubs in reducing travel expenses etc, as well as offer some tempting local derbies which will encourage their respective supporters to also get involved.

“I continue to work in partnership with the East Kent Youth League who supported the open meeting as well as the Kent Youth League as it is the main their current players we will work with to keep involved in the game.”

The Kent County League runs its own twitter feed www.twitter.com/NRGGymsU21Lge - and the League website www.kentcountyfootballleague.co.uk/nrg-gyms-under-21 keeps everyone up to date from the Under 21 League.

Mr D’Arcy added: “With the added tool of social media the word is spreading of this competition and I have been in early discussions to link up with the Essex Olympian Under 21 League to exchange good practice as well as the possibility of the representative fixture in the future.

“As well as the development of players I am hoping I can engage with the Kent FA Youth Council and the referee’s development officer, the latter following an earlier discussion of possible Sports England funding to support the clubs to have three match officials appointed to the majority of the games.”

Tonight fifth-placed Holmesdale welcome league leaders Herne Bay to Oakley Road (7:45pm).

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