Boro Player today spoke to Head of Youth Darren Sarll, who gave a fascinating insight into his career as well as the youth department at Stevenage Football Club.
The interview is part of the club’s ongoing aim to improve the youth department and giving supporters a greater look at that side of the club is just another brick in that wall.
He first revealed his own path in football, one that began with Stevenage FC when the ‘Borough’ suffix still stood.
“This is where I started, this is my club really. I came here about seven or eight years ago to work in the Community department with Robbie O’Keefe. From there it was a process of moving up one step every year, it was the Under 16 and then the Centre of Excellence, the Under 18s and the EFCO scheme and then by the time Peter Taylor had been here I was the Reserve team manager.”
A lot has changed at the club in that time, not only are we now two divisions higher but the club has expanded as a whole. New facilities have been acquired, something that Darren feels is one of the best features for him and his team, however youth football as a whole has been revamped.
“The greatest thing we have here are the facilities; Shephallbury and Bragbury End are two of the best facilities I’ve seen in youth football full stop.”
He continued, “The biggest change for smaller clubs like us is the amount of staffing that we now need; we’ve got some terrific staff here but the staffing has increased. We’ve got four full time coaches, full times physios, sports science interns, it’s a massive operation.”
“They’ve done brilliantly, we don’t always tell them that but they have. It’s such a change of culture for them because we are very strict and regimented in our routine and being disciplined. They need to understand that most of them aren’t going to be pros and they’ve got to be prepared for other walks of life. It’s getting the balance; some of them are going to need careers elsewhere and they need the tools to go away from the football club to be successful and to go away and contribute.
“We have got some good players here, some players that with the right sort of coaching and educating they could reach their potential and play in League One.”
Discipline is something that is important to Sarll, just listening to him makes that clear, and on the same topic he continued “It is really important that they adhere to the same rules and regulations as other people do in other walks of life and industries.
“We’re massive on them being in on time; they get here at 9 in the morning and rarely do they leave before 5. In any other walk of life you’d think ‘what’s so special about that then, they’re at a job’ so we make that massive because at this club previously they would have been home by half 1 every day and the amount of extra hours we’re getting into them, in their physical, psychological and technical development.”
To see the full interview with our Head of Youth, and to see Robin Shroot interview Patrick Agyemang following the strikers return to the club, simply sign into your Boro Player account now!