The Rovers Under-18 team for the 2015/16 season will tread new turf after they were accepted into the Somerset Floodlit League at the annual general meeting of the league held at Weston-super-Mare FC on Wednesday night. Last year’s Under-16 boss, and former Rovers chief, Clive Jones, traveled up the M5 with Steve Birley to state our case for entry and it was accepted. Rovers have been placed into the SOUTHERN SECTION with six other teams; Cullompton Rangers, Elmore, Wellington, Street, Glastonbury and Wincanton Town. The league begins, week commencing September 1 and the Rovers home games will be played on a Monday night.
Clive is managing the side and the league AGM was advised that we woudl be fielding the bulk of last year’s very successful Under-16 team – with one or two additions – there’s some exciting signing news to come over the next three weeks. With Cullompton Rangers having their bid also accepted what is clear is that we (Rovers) will likely lose the players who were with us last year who have an allegiance to the Speeds Meadow side. However, U18 team boss Clive Jones, who has named Steve May as his number two, is clear about what sort of a side will grace the Silver Street turf. Jones says: “The lads who played last year get first dibs, that’s only right and proper. Obviously we have notched things up a level or three in terms of competing in an Under-18 league with what will predominantly be an Under-17 side. That means players need to be strong, physically and mentally. We had that in abundance over the last two years and ALL the lads who represented the club with such distinction over the past couple of years know I really want them to stick around. But I am no fool, and I am sure some will opt to play their football elsewhere. That inevitably means bringing in new players and both Steve (May) and myself have ‘irons in the fire’ on that score and, as thing stand, I am confident we’ll put a team out that will enjoy their football (after all that’s the key thing), play good football, and do themselves, and the club, proud.
The new Under-18s will wear the same kit as the Rovers senior teams and the squad have already received the backing of a sponsor with a full set of tracksuits – many thanks to Rovers playing legend Brian Cann on that score!
Steve Birley says of the new team: “When John Biss and I, together with others, began the current youth project when we fielded an Under-12 team in the Taunton and District Youth League, the mission statement was always one of: “Getting youth players ultimately all the way through a youth system and into the senior side. I honestly believe that we are getting close to the day that one of our youth lads DOES indeed take to the pitch with the Rovers senior team and that will be a very special day for the likes of John (Biss), myself and the other good folk who launched the project five years ago.”