Over the last few seasons Severn Sport have been proud to cover tomorrow’s local stars on wet and wintery midweek evenings and with the introduction of the Cheltenham Youth Floodlit League we now have an exciting U18s division that sees the very best of Gloucestershire’s young players go head to head.
Last season saw the division cut to just 8 league games (every side playing each other once) due to the covid pandemic, but now with the introduction of more teams the league is set to be one of the must watch league’s in the 2021/22 season.
To celebrate our man Ryan Butler, who listed his U18s players to watch last season, has done so again – but this time wants the players to do the talking!
So with that being said he has contacted 10 of the finest players to have played in last season’s CYFL for them to introduce themselves to Severn Sport’s readers. Now whilst some of them aren’t playing in the division this season due to age, they were pivotal in an exciting, yet reduced, 2020/21 season.
Today is part one with the first five players as chosen by Butler.
Name: Callum Mcguirk
U18s Team: Longlevens
Mens Team: Longlevens
Team I Support: Liverpool
Footballing hero: Zinedine Zidane
Favourite Footballing Moment (as a fan): Divock Origi’s goal vs Barcelona in the Champions League
Favourite Football Moment (as a player): Playing against Liverpool for Bristol City
My target for the 2021/22 season: To make the Severn Sport Team of the Season
Butler’s Comments: Watching Callum’s journey in the Longlevens First Team over the last 18 months has been wonderful and being honest that is from just an non-football standpoint. What I have seen is a young man growing in confidence within himself and then that self-belief is showing with how his maturing on the pitch. I know Mike and Spider at Longlevens think the world of him and he definitely has the ability to grow into a fantastic player.
Name: Harry Clark
U18s Team: Cinderford Town U18s
Mens Team: Cinderford Town
Team I Support: Liverpool
Footballing hero: Steven Gerrard
Favourite Footballing Moment (as a fan): Watching Liverpool win the Champions League
Favourite Football Moment (as a player): Winning the Cheltenham Youth Floodlit League with Cinderford Town
My target for the 2021/22 season: To establish myself within the Cinderford Town first team
Butler’s Comments: Harry won the player of the year at Cinderford Town’s title winning U18s side and rightly so. He sets such a high standard and from speaking to people within Cinderford and who had seen him play for Ruardean Hill last season, it is not a surprise to me to see him within a very good Cinderford Town first team. The whole club is proud to have the likes of him, Jack Meredith and Tommy Coleman step up into Stephen Cleal’s team.
Name: Harry Duncan
U18s Team: Bishops Cleeve (20/21), Cheltenham Saracens (21/22)
Mens Team: Cheltenham Saracens
Team I Support: Cheltenham Town & Manchester City
Footballing hero: Andreas Iniesta
Favourite Footballing Moment (as a fan): Vincent Kompany’s goal against Leicester City live to win the title
Favourite Football Moment (as a player): Winning the cup with Bishops Cleeve last year having lost my last four finals
My target for the 2021/22 season: My target is to play regular first team football, but there is a lot of work to do and a lot of competition for places. Having the opportunity to win the U18s league with my friends would be brilliant.
Butler’s Comments: Last season’s Bishops Cleeve side were a typical Rich Gill side. Strong, technically sound and most importantly a side who gave it their all every time they stepped onto the pitch and Harry is one of those players you need in a squad. He may not be what you would describe as the “main man” but he is a player managers will always want in their side. We saw him play for Saracens away at Gloucester City U23s and if he puts in that sort of shift for Sarries’ U18s squad he will be banging on the door for the first team.
Name: Sam Yapp
U18s Team: Dursley Town (20/21)
Mens Team: Dursley Town
Team I Support: Liverpool
Footballing hero: Steven Gerrard & Pepe Reina
Favourite Footballing Moment (as a fan): Liverpool winning the Premier League, 4-0 vs Barcelona, 4-3 vs Dortmund & Bristol City knocking Man Utd out of the League Cup
Favourite Football Moment (as a player): Winning Division 2 of the Cheltenham Youth League with Cam Everside U15s and then joining Gloucester City at U15s, U16s and U18s level whilst being able to train with the first team.
My target for the 2021/22 season: To come back from injury to get back into the Dursley Town squad to help be part of their growth and success.
Butler’s Comments: Genuinely I have been sat here for about 10 minutes thinking about what to write about Sam Yapp other than, “I really like Sam Yapp,” and I feel like that is almost enough. He is an exciting goalkeeper who I know is held in such high regard by Karl Nash, James Thompson and everyone at Dursley and watching him explains why. He is a very good goalkeeper and a very bright prospect to look out for this and in future seasons.
Name: Jack Knight
U18s Team: Cinderford Town (20/21)
Mens Team: Lydney Town
Team I Support: Tottenham Hotspur
Footballing hero: Lionel Messi
Favourite Footballing Moment (as a fan): Ajax 2-3 Spurs in the Champions League
Favourite Football Moment (as a player): Coming back from 3-0 down to beat Bishops Cleeve last season. It was a pivotal result in us (Cinderford Town) going on to win the league
My target for the 2021/22 season: More silverware!
Butler’s Comments: Jack was a very important member of the Cinderford Town title winning squad, chalking up 11 appearances in all competition and just like Harry Duncan earlier he may not leap out as being the main man for his side but he is just as important as a top scorer of a team or the captain of the side. When we have seen Knight play he was strong defensively, whilst particularly in the latter stages, very efficient in the attacking third. He was a popular member of the team and whilst he won’t be playing in the CYFL this season he has an exciting future ahead of him.
Check back on Tuesday for part two where Butler looks at five more CYFL U18s players to watch in the 2021/22 season