Durham City Juniors Football Club
Durham City Juniors were originally established in 2008 as Sacriston Community FC, however, in 2016, merged as the youth setup to ex Newcastle United defender Olivier Bernards Durham City AFC. The club has grown from 3 teams to 18 in a very short space of time, having at least one team in every age group from under 7 through to under 18, with our players having a pathway through to senior football with the Durham City AFC first team.
We have various training venues in Durham, but we are based at Meadowfield Sports Centre in Durham where the vast majority of our teams play and train. The location offers a fantastic full size 3G pitch and we are hoping to invest and develop the facility in the near future to match the clubs ambitions.
The club have been able to grow year on year due to our brilliant set up with the youngest of children, with the focus on technical skills and having fun with the ball. Once the children establish these skills at the foundation stage such as close control of a football, running with the football and striking a football they graduate to team football at under 7 level. We believe it is this method which sets us apart and gives our children the best possible start to the game and allows our players to express themselves at a very young age.
The focus always remains on development and our current U10 City team have followed this pathway, playing in the highest division since under 7’s, winning leagues and trophies along the way. However, the biggest success for the coaches, Colin Soulsby and Paul Clark, has been having a part in developing players to become better players while teaching important life skills. The added bonus of this success is having two players accept full time academy positions with Sunderland and Middleborough.
The most challenging aspects are keeping up with the regulations and raising funds for the club, but we have some fantastic volunteers and parents at the club who keep it all going. We are a Charter Standard club and all of our coaches are qualified and highly motivated individuals, with our Under 10 coaches currently working towards their UEFA B badges and a successful career in coaching with the club.
It can be difficult finding training facilities and providing new kit for our players. However, the rewards outweigh the challenges when you see a player take onboard skills you have coached them in training and take them into a game, while seeing them becoming more confident as a person and hopefully a better player who is enjoying playing their football the right way.
The mood in our club is always fantastic. We feel that we have only just begun in a lot of aspects and our ambition is enormous. We have teams competing at every level in every age group and the future is bright with so many talented players at the club.
There is no such thing at Durham City Juniors as an off season, we train and play all year. We do lots of tournaments and trips away with all the money generated being invested back to our players and teams and playing football, what else is there?
Within the next five years the club hope to have a club house, new sets of goals, storage facilities, improved changing facilities, regular tournaments and an enhanced reputation in our area.
The biggest challenge will be to raise the funds and recruit volunteers to help achieve these goals. Our focus has always been on the local children so we very much consider ourselves to be a community club.
We have only just arrived at the stage where our teams have reached the end of the youth stage at under 18, but we are already fully integrated with adult football. The players from our current under 18 teams, one of which will compete at the very highest level on Saturday afternoons have the opportunity to progress into the under 23 team and/or the first team as Durham City FC attempt to climb up the leagues.