Under 21 Youth League set to expand next season

Wednesday 05th February 2014

AN UNDER 21 League in Kent is set to expand with new clubs joining next season.

The NRG Gyms Under 21 League – which is run by the Kent County League – kicked off this season with nine founder members and more are set to join next season.

Bridon Ropes, Canterbury City, Herne Bay, Holmesdale, Lewisham Borough, Seven Acre & Sidcup, Soccer Elite FA, Tankerton and University of Kent compete in the league – with Herne Bay being the highest ranked club in the division, with their first team playing in the Ryman League Division One South.

League administrator, John D’Arcy, revealed there will be a meeting at The Kent Football Association’s Headquarters in Ditton on Friday evening to encourage new clubs to join.

“In terms of the development of the League, the ethos I am trying to set is that this competition should grow,” said Mr D’Arcy.

“I’m in discussion with the clubs to be flexible with the governance and keep costs to a minimum to allow clubs to use their money for their benefit rather than the bank balance of the League.

“We have linked up with the East Kent Youth League in our aim to retain, sustain and develop 18-21 year old players.

“The League will be named the NRG Gyms Kent County Under 21 Development League from next season.”

The nine founder member clubs have shown an interest to retain their membership of the League.

Some higher ranked clubs – and some lower ranked clubs – are also interested in becoming members.

Dover Ranger Colts, Erith & Belvedere, FC Elmstead, Greenwich Borough, Hollands & Blair, Kent Football United, Kingfisher Glory, Margate and South Ashford, have submitted plans to join up.

Meanwhile, AFC Crowborough, Canterbury University, Chatham Town, Deal Town, Ramsgate and Sevenoaks Town are also keen to join.

“As you can see the level of interest across the county from Step 7 and above is good and I am hoping others will join this venture,” added Mr D’Arcy.

“Our plan if there is sufficient clubs to have two divisions, East and West, with play-offs to determine the eventual champions.

“Regionalising the League again is an effort to reduce costs to the clubs.  In addition we are hopeful of a county wide under 21 cup competition.”

Visit the Kent County League website: www.kentcountyfootballleague.co.uk