By Deal Town

We are pleased to announce that we will be forming an Under 23’s side, ahead of the 2024/25 season to act as the club’s new
Development Team. Playing in the Southern Counties East Football League [SCEFL] U23 division they will replace the current
Reserve Team, who have been competing in the Kent County League.
Since re-forming our Reserve team, we have always intended to host an
U23 group and now, with promotion to Step 4 and the development of
the U23 league, we are pleased to be able to do so.
The Reserve squad have achieved great success over the last two
seasons but this amendment in the club’s structure will enable us to
develop a fluid pathway for young players in the area; the aim to ensure
they have the platform to fulfil their potential within the First Team. The
main change will see the U23’s playing their games on midweek
evenings, rather than Saturday’s; this also helps First Team players who
require playing time.
All the current successful reserve squad will be invited to be involved
with the new set-up as, despite being named an U23 team, there will be a certain number of over aged players allowed.
Unfortunately Andrew Crush will be unable to continue running the side due, to personal reasons.
The club would like to thank Andy for his contribution over the last two seasons and wish him all
the best for the future.
Commenting on the development, First Team manager Steve King said, “Moving to an Under 23s
has been the plan since the club reformed a second team. At the time there was not a suitable
league for the club to enter but this situation has now changed. To be able to compete against U23
sides from established clubs like Chatham Town, Maidstone United and Sheppey United, it will
give our young players the best opportunity to continue their
“There are also big bonuses to having midweek games which,
firstly, allows the First Team coaching staff to be able to watch
most games, thus further supporting the development of our
players. It also gives us a platform to allow First Team players
match-time as and when required, as well as look at trialists or potential new signings.”
“Also, now we are a Step 4 club it gives us the opportunity to dual register some of our best
young players to local Step 5 and Step 6 clubs. With the new development pathway that
means they can play U23 matches for Deal Town as well as experience a higher level of
football on a Saturday, as they try and prepare for First Team football.”
“The only disappointing thing in this news is that Andy Crush is not able to continue running
this side. We wanted him to continue the great work that has already achieved, but this was
not possible. As First Team manager I fully believe in giving young players an opportunity. This
season we have seen the emergence of 18-year-old Jamie Kennedy as well as First Team
debuts given to Zak Hammond, Kaeden Jefferys, George Jenner and Owen Wilkinson; all of whom have only just turned 17. It is
important that all the players in our development team have both the potential and desire to play First Team football, as we look
to support them on their journey. The future is bright at the club, and we believe the pathway we have put in place will give these
local players the best opportunity of progressing through to the First Team over the next couple of years.”
The Club would like to congratulate this season’s Reserve Team on another successful season and wish all those not moving into the U23 development team the very best for the future.

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