Lions – U14 Whirlwinds
Manager: Scott Russon (FA Licensed Coach – FA Level 1 and FA Youth Award Level 1) | 07816050256 | E-mail Scott
Main communications to parents of players in the team is currently via email and WhatsApp. This page is currently a holding page of information, including the team’s development ethos and historical development since 2014.
The team will have a small number of positions vacant for the U13 season (2020-2021). The Whirlwinds side play at a high standard and is a genuinely friendly team, with supportive parents. The team is interested in enquiries from players wishing to play for a well-established side playing in Division 1 of the MKDDL. Please email Scott (manager since U7s) if interested…
About the team
Since the team formed in 2014 when the boys were 6 years old, the coaching approach has focused on long-term player and team development in a fun and supportive environment. During the foundation years, there was a deliberate focus to avoid the short-sighted, short-term pursuit of victory on match days and a win-at-all costs mentality. This aided players development, included regularly playing in different and not always favoured positions. The result has been that the team has a lot of flexibility in terms of formations and has aided player development at an individual level. The approach has also been proven to be successful with players that have joined at different points during the years, as their development has been proven in their performances, self-confidence and also enjoyment.
Despite not primarily focusing on results, we are extremely proud to be the only team at our age group that consecutively played in the highest division during the U7 to U11 seasons during those non-competitive years.
We are also extremely proud of the team spirit (check out the photos below), with any squad additions having been due to parent enquiries to us (we will not try to tempt players from other teams to join us).
We are extremely proud of the boys, the excellent team spirit that they demonstrate, and the enjoyment that the boys have seeing and playing together each week. By far the most rewarding aspects of managing the team and coaching the youngsters is facilitating their enjoyment of just playing, developing and growing up together.
Every player is a child learning to play the game of football (a game, by definition, is supposed to be fun). Therefore the same behaviours, motivation and outcomes cannot be expected compared to that of an adult footballer.
In order to help develop the players, each boy’s individual experimentation and decision-making must be allowed to happen without fear of failure (being shouted at from the sidelines by coaches and spectators doesn’t help at all).
The boys in the team are encouraged to take risks as part of the development process, knowing that things will go wrong (aka learning).
This one of several reasons why spectators are asked to praise but not instruct the boys, not least because of the probability of receiving instruction that is counter to what has been asked by the coach and the conflict that this can cause young players. This request also takes on a different significance at the U13 age group, as individual player and team tactical instruction becomes an important factor of the team’s progress and approach.
A high premium is also placed on building relationships with each player, celebrating successes that may or may not be explicitly football-related, adapting the coaching approach to suit the individual players, and nurturing a great team spirit both on and off the pitch. Please see below for more on the team, including social trips and tournament attendances.
“It [playing out from the back and defenders taking risks] goes against what we were taught in English football — don’t take any chances in possession — but managers like Pep have taken that fear out of the game, that fear of being caught in possession and that was probably the biggest problem about English football… it wasn’t the fact that they couldn’t do it, it was a mental thing about not being caught.” David Preece, The Times, 2017
Social stuff and tournaments
Paintballing team trip (February 2020)
In what turned out to be the last game of a season that was drawn to an early close, the team headed out on a team trip at a local paint-balling centre. Muddy fun in a different way from when on sodden pitch.
Xmas team trip (December 2019)
This year’s team trip involved the boys trying their hand at rock climbing. After reaching the impressively dizzy heights of some of the activities at the centre, the boys headed to sponsor McDonalds for some refreshments.
Flitwick tournament (August 31st 2019)
A return to the ever-well-run preseason tournament at Flitwick saw the team (sans 3 of the squad who were unavailable) not progress to the semi final, despite not losing a game or conceding a single goal during the five group games! Still, the boys had a great afternoon and, as usual, were all smiles.
Late July (close season) 2019
To keep the team in touch during the close season, we organised a trip to inflatable water activity (aquaparc) at Willen Lake. Not long after the hottest day of the year so far, and it rained all day. It didn’t put a dampener on the team though, and the trip to sponsors McDonalds afterwards was a great end to the afternoon.
June and July (tournaments) 2019
Five tournaments entered, with at least a semi-final appearance in each of them was a great achievement.
Following our final league game of the U11 season, the team enjoyed a celebratory trip to McDonalds. Cup games, more training, friendlies, and summer tournaments are next up, before heading into the competitive U12 season. Well done boys.
A surprise team trip after our final match to be played in November, saw no time for a team talk as we instead dashed of to one of our sponsors locations for lunch. The result was 12 very happy, slightly confused but definitely excited boys, with the full team in attendance and an even greater number of parents. Many thanks to the team at McDonalds Kingston looking after us so well during the peak lunchtime rush.
A team and siblings trip to trampoline park TopJump was a great way for the boys to have some fun time that didn’t involve football. All but one player was able to make it after the afternoon jump-fest, after Saturday’s match in the morning. Photo is from the end of the session — they were happier than they look!
A trip to the cinema to see the latest Avengers movie was on the menu for the boys on a World Cup Saturday, ahead of the first tournament the next day at Moretonville. As usual, the team had a great time and were extremely well-behaved during the 149 minutes running-time of the film. And as usual, those that couldn’t make it were missed.
“Unity is strength. When there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”
The fourth Christmas party in the team’s lifetime was a hi-tech motor car racing event. One team member was double booked, so missed out impersonating Lewis Hamilton, and another reluctantly left early to watch the new Star Wars film. As ever, thanks to Social Secretary Nic for organising the party and thanks to Nat for the pizza run.
Trip to trampoline park — October 2017Following a good performance against old friends City Colts Eagles the day before, 8 out of the 9 squad members were able to make a Sunday afternoon trip to Top Jump trampoline park. Also joining the boys were several coffee-drinking parents, 3 slushie-drinking younger sisters, one elder sister and one teething young brother. A great day had by all.
Sky Sports player profile poses — Sept 2017 Any photo update for the main team photo always results in a request from the boys to have a now obligatory silly ones.On the first day of the U10 season, the goofiness was inspired by Sky Sports Premier League player profiles, which seem to have taken inspiration from ITV’s 90s Saturday night show Gladiators. Awooga!
Team presentation day — July 2017
After a long, hot day at the Willen World Cup the day before, the majority of the squad, their older and younger siblings, plus long-suffering parents reconvened for a picnic event that had a great family feel.It seems a long, long time ago since playing 5-aside football last year. We’ve built on the foundations of the U7 and U8 seasons, with the development ethos of the team resulting in the first season of the 7-aside format being particularly strong. The fact that we reached a final of a tournament having played 9 group games in which every player played a game in goal (conceding 1 goal in total) and every player scored is clear evidence the we are giving the boys a well-rounded experience that is paying dividends. The fact that we also won the Respect Award speaks volumes.Voting was close in this year’s end-of-season awards (every player gathered votes), something underpinned by there being a dead heat for the Parents’ Player award (Will and Leonardo). Sam gained the Most Improved Player trophy (also voted for by parents) and Reuben took the Players’ Player award (voted for by the boys).A great season, a brilliant bunch of parents and fantastic gang of boys. Onwards to the U10 season, with one bleary eye already on this time next year and the step up to U11 football and a 9-aside format (gulp!).
Bowling and pizza — March 2017
With no league game scheduled we decided to treat the boys to a trip to the bowling alley and then for pizza. The squad had a great time and were impressively well-behaved (not that they aren’t usually, ahem).Frozen pitches across MK — January 2017Frozen: not only the favourite film of many of the the squad 😉 but also the state of play of pitches across MK. So it was a trip to the PowerLeague for a training session instead, and the appearance of a new trialist. We won’t be signing Flat Stanley, though, as his play was a bit two dimensional. And a bonus point if you can find the 7 squad members in the photo below…Flitwick Eagles preseason tournament — September 2016
The team attended Flitwick Eagles football centre to play some classy football on a surface that was smoother than some of the squad’s haircuts. With a brand new kit, a new team sponsor (thank you, John Lewis), one new addition to the squad, one player carrying an injury, one player on holiday, and no subs, the talented team of youngsters won Saturday’s tournament winning all six games, scoring 23 and conceding no goals — and the boys even squeezed in some Pokémon Go in between matches. Some great football was, as ever, underpinned by the team spirit that always provides the turbo-charge to their performance.
First training session of the U9 season — August 2016A light training session to bring the boys back together for the first time and lots of fun and camaraderie on show from the off (I’ve always been impressed and proud of their team spirit considering the vast majority only see each other twice a week). To set the tone for the season we began with an exercise to look at ‘what it means to be a good team’, with the results below. Some big words, phrases and concepts from such smart little men.
Start of the U9 seasonShefford summer tournament 2016Our final tournament of the U8 season saw a strong finish and the increased emphasis on playing good football paid dividends. During the best weather of the year so far, the end of season awards were presented, with Leonardo retaining the Parents’ Player award, Reuben taking Players’ Player, and Sam building on his runner-up award last season to take Most Improved Player. There were also special mentions for two of the original squad who will be playing for new teams next season, with Kyan joining the new U8 Whirlwinds and Little Tom moving to a new club. We wish them both all the best.
Woburn & Wavendon FC summer tournament 2016
The weather held for a dry and decent 6-aside tournament. Our first competitive tournament experience.
City Colts summer tournament 2016A decent day. Well done to the boys and also for how they managed the coordination of the subs switching over; reminded me of the Red Arrows.
Christmas party — December 2015 A trip to MK Spy Centre saw the Whirlwinds U8s pitched against each other as the self-billed team Rudolph and team Coders, with the red-nosers victorious. Laser avoidance, code-cracking, sausage, chips and beans, plus a barrage of the players’ best and frankly worst jokes rounded off the trip. Thanks to Social Secretary Nicola for organising this year’s bash.
A picnic in glorious sunshine at Willen Lake marked the end of a jam-packed, fun-packed inaugural season, which saw the boys play 20 standard games and too many training sessions to count.Awards were presented to Leonardo (Parents’ Player), Tom (Players’ Player), Callum (Most Improved Player) and Sam (Most Improved Player Runner-Up). A special award went to mum Emma T for her dedication to the ‘calling time on the end of the midweek training session… every… single… week’. There was also a special mention for the dogged and driven Isaac, who moves across to our sister side the Hurricanes for the forthcoming U8s season.The day was a great way to celebrate the team’s achievements, and also meant that, where available, siblings were able to join in the fun, which included something that resembled cricket and a game of rounders with mixed teams of parents and kids.
Woburn & Wavendon FC summer tournament — July 2015Our first Club tournament and what a brilliant day — spectacularly well organised and massive fun. High praise for Club Chairman Ian Doggett who works tirelessly throughout the year and then gives his all to lay on a fantastic weekend of football for 4,000 young players and their spectators. (Not to mention organising the Lionesses tournament the weekend before!) If you would like to drop Ian an email with any feedback, comments or thanks, you can email him on: firstname.lastname@example.orgPhotos courtesy of Mark
Family Fun Day at MK Dons — March 2015
Some of the boys were able to attend a team day out as the MK Dons beat Notts County 4-1. The afternoon also included sweets, hot chocolate, rock choir, sweets, a mascot race and sweets. Plus the prerequisite “I need the toilet” trip, which meant missing one of the goals…
A very friendly ‘friendly’ – mixed friendly with City Colts — February 2015
The Whirlwinds mixed it up with Middleton’s City Colts Eagles. For more, see the Club news story here
Christmas party 2014