Deeping Rangers stage a successful Neil Olson junior football tournament
Nearly 600 youngsters attended the popular Neil Olson junior football tournament at Deeping Rangers over the weekend.
Around 60 teams from across the area attended the two-day event which was staged at the Haydon Whitham Stadium.
The tournament was jointly sponsored by the Market Deeping-based Oakwood Group and Deeping Lions and was hailed a huge success thanks to the efforts of the teams, players, referees, sponsors, parents and volunteers.
Hosts Deeping were among the medals in the Under 7s tournament to continue the club's recent run of success.
They have created a player pathway throughout the club this season which has laid the foundations for the future.
The Clarets' first team finished the United Counties League Premier Division North campaign as the highest-placed team in Lincolnshire after ending the campaign in fifth spot.
The reserves clinched promotion to the Peterborough League Premier Division and also capped a fine season with a cup final success.
The Development squad were runners-up in Division Five to win promotion to Division Three while the Under 18s took second spot in the Thurlow Nunn League as well as being crowned Lincolnshire County Cup winners.
The run of success has seen the plans start to come to fruition for delighted Deeping head of football Martin Bond in his first full season in his new role after stepping out of the dug-out after eight years as first team coach.
Bond explained: "It was very apparent that the club needed to build a robust and transparent 'player pathway' that all associated with the club would buy into and support.
"It was also recognised that there was a 'gaping hole' between the talented Under 18s' midweek team and the first team which needed addressing.
"There was also a real need to galvanise the senior section and, as importantly, to galvanise the junior and youth sections enabling them to understand they really are a massive and crucial part of the club in relation to player development.
"The return of the reserve team and introduction of the development squad enabled any young players to make the steps from youth football into men's football more manageable.
"We are a club for the local community and I wanted to ensure every player has the best experience and opportunities possible to allow them to progress through the ‘player pathway’ by following it the 'Deeping Rangers Way'.
"I now have in place a group of like-minded individuals who are communicating regularly and managing and coaching as a team to develop our own players within Deeping Rangers.
"The player pathway package I have produced is very transparent in its steps which allows all players and parents from the early years to map out a player's potential route on their footballing journey through Deeping Rangers."
The fruits of the player pathway have already started to blossom with at least three young players already having played this season for all four sides in the senior section.
The junior and youth section sides have also enjoyed successful seasons by winning various league and cup trophies.
Additionally, the popular annual summer school which lasts for four Saturdays is just around the corner.
Bond added: "The board and, I as a director of Deeping Rangers, work very hard to invest in offering quality facilities, equipment and qualified coaches, allowing the foundations to be in place for a player's individual development.
"It's been an absolute delight recently to see existing and past senior section players now becoming coaches at Deeping Rangers at the mini and junior levels.
"They have introduced their children to the 'beautiful game’ at Deeping Rangers to what is to all intense and purposes a family and club for the local community.
"These players have had a positive footballing journey at Deeping Rangers and are now committed to putting something back into the club.
"We are privileged to have some fantastic volunteers (we could do with more), individual and company based sponsors, parents, qualified managers and coaches and supporters who are all supporting the players and teams to reach their goals.
"I am very grateful to them all and can't thank them enough and I'm looking forward to everybody involved with Deeping Rangers taking the players and the club forward next season."