EACH of the age group sections within the Swindon Town academy will sail to Europe over the next two weeks to take part in the club’s regular tour of Holland.
Every section from under 10s to under 15s, and even a handful of under nines, will get the chance to play in games against De Graafschap and Excelsior Rotterdam as well as in tournaments involving the likes of Den Haag and Sparta Rotterdam, during their five-day trips.
Academy director Jeremy Newton stressed the importance of the time away in teaching Town’s youngsters how to prepare for tournament football.
“We want to do it to try to educate the players,” he told the Advertiser.
“The 13s, 14s and 15s have been away for years and years and it gets them into a mindset of how to prepare themselves, how to conduct themselves, making sure they rest and ultimately all we’re doing is preparing for the bigger picture long-term.
“The Milk Cup is a massive tournament we go to in July and the fundamental basics of what to expect there are picked up when we go away to Holland.
“It just makes the players more aware of how to look after themselves, from the under 10s all the way through to the 15s.”
The children between under nine and under 12 level head out this weekend, with the remainder of the sections following suit seven days later. A total of 12 coaches will accompany the party.
“This is our third or fourth trip to Holland.
“It’s huge for us, fantastic for the kids,” said Newton.
“The first group are going with five under nines this year and it will be a big test for them - physically and mentally - being away from home.
“The 10s have not had the experience of going away either, so we’ve got an age group and a half who haven’t been away before.
“The 11s and 12s have been away before, so they know what it’s all about.
“The tournament on Wednesday will be really tough for the players.
“They’re already playing two games in two days before having to prepare themselves for the tournament.”