A peak period in 2009 at Sunderland RCA Football Club as the first team stands at the top of Northern League Division 2 with the best ever start to a football season. Whatever happens in the future and there will be hard times and troughs again, proud memories for Sunderland RCA officials will always be retained like last night at Eppleton C.W.
Sunderland AFC Youths v Durham FA County Youths (select).
It certainly felt good to have 5 members of SRCA’s 2009 County Youth Cup Winning side involved in the game (Graeme Pickering, Marc Moon, Liam Dunn, Lee Andrews, Mark Robinson) plus a further one in Luke Olabode, one of our first year players.
A quality game witnessed, maybe not as good as watching England storm to the World Cup 5-1, but definitely enjoyable. Talented players on both sides displaying skill, blood and guts, SAFC winning 2-1.
However on the flip side, the management of RCA (like other football bodies) are concerned about the progress of other talented young players and the concerning issue of bridging Youth to Saturday Senior Men’s football. Stepping up into Senior football – Northern or Wearside League is a very large hurdle at 18 years of age. In brief discussions with Durham County FA secretary John Topping, the RCA Chairman was enlightened to hear that thought is currently being given to an Under 21 Tournament possibly commencing in 2010.
The rules will hopefully be written so that player qualification depends on having previously played in the DFA Youth League but must not have played more than say 10 games in the Northern or Wearside Leagues. Hopefully this will encourage those players that are becoming lost to the Saturday game back into football.
It is difficult times for football clubs in the North East, finances are becoming limited and volunteers are few, but SRCA F.C. will be signing up to progress football’s future. Please watch this space regarding the Under 21 project and if you are out there wanting to get involved, RCA would like to hear from you.