FF 75 – Holsworthy Association Football Club

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Holsworthy Association Football Club

Holsworthy AFC has enjoyed a fine start to their season with a number of sides enjoying positive results. Football Focus Magazine recently caught up with their First Team Manager Liam Dart to gain an insight into their success.  

Involvement 

He told us, “I have been involved with the club for 22 years on and off since I was eight years old playing youth football from under 12s to under 16s, before going on to play for the 1st team in two different spells. For the past three and a half years I have been manager of the 1st team with heavy involvement with the day to day running of club.”  

The Role 

“The most rewarding aspects are seeing the club grow over the past three and half years. When I took over as manager the reserves were struggling, the 1st team only had two players left. Now we are running an under 18s, reserve team and 1st team, with all the teams doing well in their respective leagues.  

Another rewarding aspect is seeing the players from the youth teams coming through to represent the club in all of the senior teams and the community coming to watch and support the club. The challenging aspects are time, balancing full time work with volunteer commitments to the club running the team, getting sponsorship and general day to day things at the club. The other most challenging aspect is keeping everything fresh to maintain player commitment. Player commitment across three teams is probably the hardest aspect and seems to be locally and nationally a problem in grassroots football!” 

Atmosphere 

“The general mood is good; there are always ups and downs during the season with a lack of volunteers, or fluctuation in results or finance. On the whole we are in a good place at the moment as there is a lot to be positive about.”  

This Season 

“The start of the season has gone well; the Under 18s are unbeaten, the reserves are comfortably in the top half of their league following last season’s promotion and the 1st team have had one of the best starts to the season for a few years.  

The plans for the rest of the campaign are for the 1st team to try and finish in the top 5 of the league with a good cup run, the reserves to push for a second promotion and the under 18s to challenge for the league title. Off the field we aim to continue to grow as a community club with hopefully more volunteers coming on board.”   

Youth 

“Youth football is the future of our club. It is the start of the community programme and the start of the development of our future 1st and 2nd team players. Without the youth teams we won’t survive as a senior club because in a small rural area we rely on the youth players coming through. The football club from youth through to seniors is also a huge part of the local community.  

The introduction two years ago of the under 18s supports the smooth transition from youth to adult football. Some players are ready to go straight into adult football from the under 16s, some need an extra year or two years at under 18 to support and nurture their maturation and development. It’s important we don’t rush players and support their development to retain players for years to come.”  

Challenges/Ambitions 

“Over the coming years two major challenges will be finance and volunteer support. Our ground is too small to allow the 1st team to get promoted so we will have to look to leave our ground of 125 years to allow the club to progress at some point and the final challenge will be continuing to have player commitment.  

Over the next five years we would like to start a ladies team again and aim to continue to make progress on and off of the pitch, promoting our young players into the senior teams and strive to be the best we can possibly be as a club for our community.”

“We pride ourselves in being a Club who utilises local players with the aim to keep them and future generations for many years. A great example of this is our Reserves Team Manager – Ian Rowe. 

Ian has himself been playing for Holsworthy on and off for the last 32 years, he is still playing as well as managing at the age of 46. On top of this his grandad, Cyril, his dad Eddie, himself and now his son Ty, who at 15 is playing for our U18’s team have all played/are playing for Holsworthy AFC. That is four generations of the same family that have played for Holsworthy AFC.”

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