Ahead of its ten-year anniversary this June, London’s most dynamic and successful football Academy Kinetic has continued its success despite the challenges presented by a third lockdown.
The academy, based in Croydon, works to help develop players across different age groups, and has produced several professional footballers over the last decade.
Harry Hudson, founder of the Kinetic Academy, admitted his players are becoming increasingly frustrated without being able to play competitive football amid the pandemic.
Hudson said: “The third lockdown has been rubbish for us. It’s really been quite different altogether.
“We have implemented position specific individual plans and conditioning plans for the players as well as remote Instagram stories with a partner organisation to try and make the sessions more engaging.
“It’s certainly been the worst time, in this lockdown. The players haven’t got many targets. Yes, they’ve still got lessons but they haven’t got exams to work towards and there is no clear indication of when we’re able to start up again. They are fed up to be honest.”
The Kinetic Academy have placed heavy importance on player welfare and mental health during the lockdown, with each member of staff assigned 25 players to monitor and support.
“Each staff member has a slot with each player and their parents once a week which is around two hours of engagement,” said Hudson.
“The meetings are ranked online and monitored by our welfare team who look for red flags in behaviours and where necessary we follow up with additional support.”
In recent years, the Kinetic Academy have passed on a vast amount of young talent to football league clubs, largely through showcase matches against professional clubs where scouts eye the next big talent.
The suspension on non-elite football has posed problems for the Kinetic Academy, who are unable to participate in showcase matches to give their players vital exposure and recognition.
Hudson said: “Showcase matches are massive for our players. Obviously, they aren’t possible in lockdown because clubs can’t visit and we can’t play against them. It does impact the players’ chances considerably.”
However, the Kinetic Academy have continued their success regardless of the restrictions, with players still presented with plenty of opportunities to showcase their talent.
“We have still got boys on trial. We’ve got one on trial at Watford at the moment and one of our boys Niino Adom-Malaki was signed by Millwall during this lockdown so there are still opportunities,” said Hudson.
“The challenge for our players when they get their chance is that they’ve got to be better than what is already there and when they haven’t played a competitive game for a month the odds are stacked against them.”
Since its implementation in 2011, the Kinetic Academy has nurtured and passed on high-profile Nigerian internationals Josh Maja and Joe Aribo, as well as Rhys Norrington-Davies, who already has three caps for Wales.
Hudson said: “There is a lot of interest in our country now from clubs trying to find the unsigned talent born off the back of the Jamie Vardy.
“It’s highlighted to clubs that there are players in non-league and grass roots football that can make the telling difference.”
You can read more about the history of Kinetic here.