Det nærmer seg sesongstart i Norge og U17 serien setter i år igjen ny rekord i antall deltagende lag. Tilsammen 11 lag fra 10 klubber skal i aksjon, og i den forbindelse har vi sendt ut noen spørsmål, for å få en formening om hvordan lagene i årets U17 serie vil bli seende ut. I dag presenterer vi den første klubben på lenge som stiller to lag i samme aldersbestemte serie – Oslo Vikings. Svarene kommer fra Vikings hovedtrener på U17 nivå, Dustin Hawke Willingham og er derfor på engelsk.
Hvordan er årets lag i forhold til fjorårets? Er det mange spillere som har blitt for gamle? Hva med nye spillere?
We have 46 players on the roster total. About 6 have not committed yet. We lost 14 players due to age, we have about 5 rookies right now, and a lot of people moving up from U15.
Dere skal for første gang på lenge stille med to lag i den samme aldersbestemte klassen. Hvordan gjennomfører dere det i praksis
- Trener de sammen? Samme trenerstab?
- Kommer dere til å toppe et av lagene?
We are splitting the players into a competitive and development team. [red anm. The competitive team will play in the RØD conference, and the development team in HVIT] Exactly who ends up on which team is not set yet, but two important factors will be commitment and skill level. We’re trying this out this year because when you have 40+ on the sideline and the games are so short it’s hard to get everyone on the field, and a very difficult task to administer.
We want fresh and inexperienced guys to also have the chance to see the field as much as possible during the season.
All players practice together and have the same coaches. We’ve been lucky that the schedules have been staggered so we can handle this without resorting to splitting the coaches to handle two games on the same weekend.
We’ve worked with the federation how handle this, this has not been an easy task. It is a bit scary to commit to this as the age defined team have a certain fluidity to the players that the senior levels do not struggle with as much.
Hva tenker dere om årets motstandere?
It’s hard to judge the opponents in the age specific groups from season to season. It boils really down to recruitment and retention of players, and often clubs cannot control this as much as other factors. A team which did good last year, might have lost all/most experienced players due to the age restriction and this year have a more inexperienced squad.
Hva er målsetningen for årets sesong?
Get as many players as much experience on the field as possible, and have fun.