The 2014 Futures Cup is here

Futures Cup 2013 2

From Thursday of this week, the crème de la crème of up and coming talent will gather at Chase Park, Cannock for this year’s Futures Cup Competition. With 16 teams of both male and female players across the under 16 and under 18 age groups all ready to do battle, it promises to be a great showcase of what the future holds and a fantastic spectacle for the supporters and players alike.

“This is the chance of them to be on show with all the best players in the country for their age group. The national coaches will be there so they can give them an idea of what they can do. The coaches will know some of the players but there is also that element of surprise where someone might have a really strong tournament and we might find a gem we hadn’t previously seen.“ says Darren Cheesman, the assistant coach of the Saxon Tigers U18s.
Cheesman a player who has himself played at international level is keen to pass on his experience to the next generation:

“All of the boys here are trying to play senior international hockey. As someone who has played at that level I know what the standards and expectations are. A lot of coaches are taught how to coach which is great but I think I can add the ability to coach as well as my experience of playing to give them the tiny little details that might give them the advantage and might just add something extra to their game.”

As the Southgate forward rightly says, part of what Futures Cup is about is preparing the players for what senior international level might be like. With so many games in a short amount of time it’s a step up in intensity and a glimpse into the punishing schedule the likes of Barry Middleton and Alex Danson face in the England senior squads. Despite this challenge, the Saxon Tigers Assistant Coach sees it as a rewarding experience for both the players and coaches alike:

“The players we’ve got have some unbelievable skills. They’re great to work with and with them you can talk about the finer details. You can explain to them the 1% that will take them from outstanding to exceptional. To see them learning so quickly really blows my mind. To be part of their journey and hopefully play a role in them playing for the senior national team in the future is a fantastic opportunity for me.”

Sara Walker, England Hockey’s Single System National Manager echoes that enthusiasm, saying:

“There are exciting times ahead for our Futures Cup players. I hope our young talent will have a great few days and take away some strong learning experiences. Huge thanks to all those that help make this event so special and good luck to all the players.”
With the stage now set, it is time for the stars of the future to step up and take their chance to shine, maybe even taking another step on the path to being the next Ashley Jackson or Kate Richardson-Walsh.

Now entering its sixth year, the Futures Cup will once again be held at Cannock Hockey Club in Staffordshire from Thursday 30th October – Sunday 2nd November. There is no entry fee to watch the tournament but spectators should be aware that there is a parking charge of £3 per day or £5 for the tournament.

Click here to view the players who will be on show at the Futures Cup.