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Academy focused on the future

Jon Goodman excited for what's to come for MK Dons...

20 May 2020


Academy focused on the future

Jon Goodman excited for what's to come for MK Dons...

20 May 2020

While the first-team wait to learn how – or if – the 2019/20 season will resume, the MK Dons Academy have already turned their attention to the future.

The EFL announced earlier this month that the Academy campaign was to end due to the Coronavirus pandemic, with all remaining Youth Alliance fixtures cancelled.

“From an Academy perspective, at age groups 9 – 16 in particular, there wasn’t much of a discussion to have,” Goodman told iFollow MK Dons when asked about the decision to end the Academy season.

“The games do mean something to us but in the wider scheme of things, it made complete sense to cancel the rest of the season.”

While no more matches or training sessions will take place until the 2020/21 season, that doesn’t mean to say there isn’t work still going on within the Academy.

“There are some of us who are not on furlough who, are not doing our day job as such, but we’re still trying to keep everyone informed,” he said.

“We have nearly 120 footballers in the Academy, across the age groups, all with unique needs and all looking for some guidance.

“For our scholars, they are following a similar conditioning programme to the first team at the moment to ensure that they can come back in and support the first team, should that be required.

“They are also still doing their education work, and the second-years will be at the stage of finishing their modules.

“One of our first-year scholars, James Holmes, has already completed a whole two year’s worth of work, all 19 modules, so he’s going to extend his knowledge and undertaking a B-License coaching course through the PFA.

“Elsewhere, we’re still working through the retain and release of players in our Academy. We’re having a lot of dialogue with players and parents from the 9 to 16 age groups.

“We have also our pre-Academy players, our Under-8s, who are getting their paperwork together to register with us. It’s an exciting time for them but it is tinged with a sense of frustration as it’s normally a fantastic day for them.

“They are usually invited down to the stadium to meet Pete Winkelman and they have their picture taken on the pitch. Doing it through zoom and emails isn’t the way we’d want their first introduction to the Club to be, but we are where we are.”

Despite keeping busy, though, Goodman admits he can’t wait to get back to working with the players in person at Woughton on the Green.

“I, and all the staff, are looking to forward to getting back and investing our time in the players,” he told iFollow MK Dons.

“It’s important we all take this time to charge ourselves back up and make sure that when we come back, we come back motivated and really looking forwards to driving forwards with real purpose.

“There is excitement amongst the current scholars coming in, alongside the current the first-years. There is excitement across the board, though.

“I’ve been lucky, this year, to get to know all the many age groups that we have. We do have some talented players in the programme.”

He added: “I see real potential in what we can achieve – players and staff. The past year has flown by and I’ve absolutely loved coming to work.

“I’m excited about what the next year or two will look like for us.”

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