AFC Croydon Athletic has used the lockdown to expand its junior section, including establishing its first girls team, as well as securing a new ground share partner at the Thornton Heath based stadium with Balham FC.
The 20/21 non-league football season is due to return from the beginning of September after a six month Covid-19 enforced absence.
The Rams are working hard to be ready and while things will still look different, as the health of our supporters and visitors is very important, at least fans will have a chance to see football live again.
Balham have moved across from the Combined Counties League to join Athletic in the Southern Counties East Football League next season. So, there will be two very local derbies in Thornton Heath as the two teams go head to head
A partnership with K&R Sports Academy has enabled the club to step up its junior programme with a massive increase in teams. Last season it had six teams playing between Under 9 to Under 16. In 20/21 there is due to be 14 teams starting with Under 8s and going through all the age groups. It will also include a girls team at U12 which is still recruiting if there are players who will be in Y6 or Y7 after the summer holidays then get in touch with the club now.
This partnership is also seeing a Summer football camp throughout the holidays on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Operated by K&R Sports Academy at AFC Croydon Athletic it is a safe environment for young people from six to 14-yea- old’s for football fun during the summer term.
Club Chairman, Paul Smith, explained that he is very pleased with what has happened during the lockdown: “Obviously like every club we were concerned with the impact of the lockdown as there are still bills to pay but whilst we have been able to get through we have also forged new links and that is very exciting. “It shows that the club is continuing to grow and to reach out into the community which is exactly what we want to be able to do.”
The Football Association, working with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have issued guidance that will see the safe resumption of football from September and with spectators able to attend.
The first team have been training in accordance with government guidance.They have made some changes to their Management team with Barry Boxall coming in as Assistant Manager to work alongside Kevin Rayner who said. “Barry is a quality addition to the coaching team and we are keen to hit the ground running at the start of the season. The players, some old faces and some new, have been working hard and the squad is starting to come together. We are excited about the new season.”