A highly qualified coach is in the process of forming a new youth football club for Haverhill in order to give parents and youngsters more choice over where they play the game.
Squadron Leader Lee Wood, a serving officer in the RAF who lives in the town and is a former vice-chairman and chairman of Haverhill Rovers Youth FC, is setting the club up with a view to it being formerly affiliated to the Suffolk FA in May.
Sqn Ldr Wood, who everyone knows as Woody, said: “I am looking to start up a new club because the pitches are available, the want is there and there’s a need for parents and players to have a choice of where to go and play football in Haverhill.
“If you are a boy or girl under 18 now, where do you currently go, it’s Haverhill Rovers.”
Sqn Ldr Wood is considering putting competitions on to decide on a name for the club and to design a badge.
With more than 30 teams all based at The New Croft, Sqn Ldr Wood feels the scope is there to provide affordable football for parents on the many public and private pitches across the town, which are currently not used for youth matches.
He adds that he has heard from a number of parents who say that they cannot afford for their children to play football in Haverhill any more and he wants to change that.
“I’m looking initially for players at the under-16 age group and below. Under-7, under-8, under-9, whatever the demand,” he said.
“This is just a one man band. Me putting this into the public arena and saying ‘Haverhill, do you want this.’
“Ultimately I believe the people of Haverhill do want a second youth Football club.”
Once the new club is affiliated to the Suffolk FA and Sqn Ldr Wood knows how many players and managers want to join, then he can apply for teams to join the relevant leagues.
He is also applying for grants to help cover set up costs.
Sqn Ldr Wood added: “The club is going to happen. If we get one team going we get one. If we get ten we get ten, but it is going to happen.”
Sqn Ldr Wood has managed many football teams in the RAF and currently manages the RAF officers veterans team.
He is the holder of FA Level 1 and Level 2 coaching badges and is one level off a UEFA B badge. He has also completed youth award modules one and two and is now starting on module three.
He is CRB checked, holds an FA Emergency Aid Certificate and a Basic First Aid for sport qualification, has completed the FA Safeguarding course and is a member of the FA Licenced Coaching Club.
Any players, parents and managers interested in joining the new Haverhill youth football club or local businesses wishing to support its development can contact Sqn Ldr Wood at Haverhillaffordablefootball@outlook.com.