FC Shakhtar Academy director has summed up the past season. The Dutch expert has assessed the performances of each team and the Pitmen’s soccer school.
– The team showed a good level of football. The boys achieved good results in the Second League, earning a lot of points. And each of them was totally deserved, claimed not only due to commitment, but also a beautiful performance on the field. In addition, players have become more experienced compared to previous seasons.
The main purpose of Shakhtar-3 is to develop players for the youth team. But we continue to work with many talented boys who were not promoted to the reserve team for various reasons. This year, the backbone of the team remained the same as in the previous season, and the result immediately made itself felt. Usually, every six months would see 10 new players at Shakhtar-3, and the process of building the team had to be started from scratch. Although at the beginning of the year one of the leaders of the team’s attack Ruslan Malinovskiy joined Sevastopol – Oleg Kononov was very interested in him after the t Balaklava Green tournament – others took his place.
We set a goal to be among the leaders of the Second League. Both the players and coaches of Shakhtar-3 coped well with it. For a while we were sitting in the first place, but finished second in the Group B – this team had been unable to achieve such a good result for seven years. This is a great achievement by coaches, players and scouting department. It is very important that Shakhtar-3 players see their football future well. The games are already attended by many scouts, and we received several calls from clubs that are interested in the services of our footballers.
– At the beginning of the season we did not quite know what to expect from the newly formed U-19 Championship. In the championship, our Academy was represented by a very young team in the championship – the boys born 1995 diluted with several representatives of the youth side who were one year older. Sometimes we lost, but not because of being inferior in terms of performance, but because we did not put away our chances and allowed opponents to score too easily. This is the price of experience and the result of playing against those who are a year or two years older.
– The team started preparation very early because they had to take part in our annual youth international tournament. The best European clubs took part in the competition so it was a kind of test for professionalism for all Shakhtar U-17 players and coaches. And our team performed brilliantly! They showed good football, reaching the final, where they beat their peers from Hajduk. Good words can be said about the performance in the championship: the team showed its strength, dropping points only once during the distance.
– In the offseason, the team was strengthened by a number of new boys. At present, there are several talented players for each position; there is a competition. Therefore, the coach needs to carefully keep the balance to provide each player with enough time on the pitch, giving every player a chance to get into the first team. During this time, some of the U-16 players made great progress regarding their development, but not all.
– To some extent, there was the same situation as with the team a year older. Shakhtar U-15 was strengthened with several new players in the summer. Coaches did a good job, so the boys eventually became a real team. I can say that the team performed well in the championship, and we do not stop working on strengthening it.
– The boys joined the team from the soccer school, and so it was interesting to see how they would get on in the DUFLU. Due to the players’ individual skills the team started well, and in the process of the championship the players formed a good collective vision. We began to rely not only on the speed and power, but we also started showing good football, improved positional interplays.
– Throughout the year, our school coaches have worked at a high level, showing good organization. There was held the traditional Branches Tournament, in which all our teams from Donetsk and Donetsk Oblast take part in. According to its regulations, our teams face the boys who are a year older. I also want to express my special thanks to all the branches’ coaches who continue to search for and develop talented players in their districts and towns. Encounters involving their teams with the sides representing our soccer school always prove to be very interesting.