AFC Portchester have revealed their plans for youth development at the club in 2020-21.
As well as creating a new under-23s side, a number of key appointments have been made to ensure there is smooth and structured progression from the youth set up towards the first team.
With the Wyvern League announcing they are in discussions to link up with the Hampshire County Youth League next season, one of the plans being considered is the creation of a under-23s league alongside their current reserve league structure.
AFC Portchester have decided to withdraw their current reserve team set up to go with an under-23s side next season instead.
The youth team for under-18s will still compete in what is currently the Hampshire County Youth League structure.
Three key appointments have also been made to aid the development of youth players at the club from the age of seven up to them preparing to make the breakthrough into the first team squad.
Mark Dugan (pictured above) has been appointed football development officer and will oversee the progression of youth players into the first team.
Andy Thompson has been appointed youth development phase lead, and his work will include supporting the players aged 12-16 at the club and their coaches.
His role will include helping to develop a playing philosophy for these age groups, including age phase priorities for the coaches to develop.
Pete Sanderson has been appointed foundation phase lead, which supports young players in the seven to 11 age ranges.
This role will help to develop their playing philosophy and age phase priorities.
On the decision to set up a new under-23s side, Mark Dugan said: “As a club AFC Portchester are progressive, forward thinking and always looking towards the future and the youth within the club.
“So it’s with great delight we announce our reserve side will now become our new under-23s and hopefully play its football in a new under-23s league coming next season.
“The move fits the AFC Portchester model perfectly - with our development squads becoming younger and our pathway structure becoming ever more the supply chain to the first team.
“These are exciting times for the club and its young and talented players.”
The club has also applied to achieve the next step up on the charter standard ladder, moving from development club to community club status.
AFC Portchester have been working with Daniel Piper, a coach mentor from the Football Association, to develop their pathway structure to ensure youngsters have the best possible chance of progression through the club.