Our ‘Junior Chat’ feature is all about showcasing our thriving Junior section and in the spotlight here is our U7’s Royals. The Royals team compete in the East Berkshire Football Alliance. They are managed by Dan Hough.
2022/23 season so far
The Royals have had a really enjoyable 2022-23 so far. The ropey weather either side of Christmas has meant we haven’t quite been able to play as many games as we would have liked, but that’s footballing life in England for you! Results are in no way the main indicator of progress for all of our U7 teams, but the Royals have been winning more than they have been losing and it’s been great watching the players develop. Long may it continue.
What brought you to Ascot?
I became aware of Ascot United when I played against the Ascot United Vets in 2018. I lived in South-West London then and so turned up at the Racecourse Ground with my previous Vets’ team. I was massively impressed with the facilities and indeed the way that Ascot’s Vets’ side played. I then ended up moving to Ascot just before the pandemic started and that prompted me to move over and join Dave Good’s side. When my twins turned five it was subsequently a no-brainer that they would also join the Yellas.
What do you enjoy most about coaching the Royals?
There’s loads to enjoy…just as there are a fair few things that challenge you. I love watching the players develop. They pick up new things quickly and I’d like to think they are all becoming better footballers. The little things are often the ones that I like the most; watching a player shoot with his/her left foot when they were 100 per cent right footed just a short time before. Watching the players come together, work as a team and gel as a group. Watching them show resilience and bounce back from setbacks. Plus loads more!
What’s been your highlight of the Royals tenure so far?
The half-time oranges that one of the parent’s provides! They are bostin’! Being serious, I don’t think I really have one. I love watching the guys play, I love watching them fall in love with the game. We did also come back from 3-0 down to win one game 4-3. I know results are far from the be all and end all, but I defy any football fan to not enjoy that.
Have there been any moments of adversity for the Royals and how have you overcome that?
Six and seven year olds take their football very seriously! Indeed, one of the things that I have to do is try to make sure they don’t get over-emotional when we lose. We won our first four games and when we lost the fifth all eight players were in tears. They just weren’t used to things going wrong. But, losing is a great life lesson. You learn from your mistakes, you try to improve on things you’re not so good at and you go again. I’ve been massively impressed with how all eight players have embraced that.
One of our players in particular deserved praise there. He made a mistake as keeper that cost us a goal in a game we lost. But, he was there at training the next week, he was there for the next game and he was super keen to get back on the horse. He was key in us bouncing back and winning the next match. Really good to see.
Something to celebrate about the Royals
The togetherness. The players go to a range of different schools and didn’t know each other when the team was set up. They are all really close now, attending each other’s birthday parties and such like. The team ethos is a great thing to behold.
One more thing…
There are times when managing a junior side is hard work. Some of the admin that the league requires is, well…but, the plusses far outweigh things like that. Seeing players grow, seeing a team ethos develop and seeing folks love football is really a magnificent thing.
Good luck for the rest of your season, Royals!
The U7’s Royals are proudly sponsored by Sebastian’s Action Trust for the 2022/23 season.
If you’d like to have your team featured in Junior Chat, please get in contact with our Marketing & Media Manager, Abi.