Tonight under the floodlights, the Lincoln City Under 18s face South Shields in the FA Cup Second Round.
Two weeks ago they secured their place in this round with a 1-0 win over Shrewsbury Town thanks to a 25th-minute goal by Jordan Adebayo-Smith.
City will face West Bromwich away at the Hawthorns in the third round if they secure a win this evening. The Championship level team will pose a tough threat for the Imps but right-back, Charlie West says knowing who they’ll be facing has given them a real boost.
There are always lots of people wanting to get involved, with the number of youngsters involved growing each year. The staff are always looking at providing more opportunities for the youth coming through the ranks.
As well as opportunities such as match day mascots, the Imps have several community schemes to enable children and young adults to engage in the sport and help better their football skills. The club has seen many players rise through the ranks from their academy and play for their first team. Currently, seventeen-year-old midfielder, Ellis Chapman, plays for both the Under 18s and the senior teams.
The Lincoln City Foundation runs a Football Development Programme, a club for girls 8 to 16, a Junior Imps club, and more. They’ve churned out Lincoln legends such as Lee Frecklington.
Imogen Burnley, a seventeen-year-old who is part of an Imps in the Community program, raves about the success of their youth schemes. As an alternative to A-levels, Imogen and her 19 class peers will leave the club with a BTEC National Diploma in Sport next summer.
The course currently has far fewer girls than boys, meaning they’re unable to field a full women’s team. Instead, the girls play 5-a-side futsal. Regular practice and games with the team are helping with her fitness, Immie claims. The training is also helping improve her technical skills, refining her ball control. These skills she can apply to her games in the Women’s National League with Nettleham Ladies.
Immie said “with all the extra qualifications I’ll get out of this programme, I can then progress into university with lots of experience that other students won’t have.”
I love playing and representing Lincoln by being able to wear all their kit