Weston have the ‘best coaching system’ around says Ethan Reed
PUBLISHED: 09:00 02 June 2020
“Weston have the best coaching system around by far in my opinion,” says Ethan Reed.
As long as Reed can remember there was never a time when he was without a football before at the tender age of 15, he would sign for the Seagulls youth set-up under Dan Jackson.
Just a few years later, the 18-year-old now plays for the under-19s and coaches the under-13s as he aims to help the next generation come through like he did.
“Originally I was from Backwell and I moved to Weston two years ago and that was only because of football,” said Reed.
“My life revolves around football, if I’m not doing football I’m not happy really.
“From going through the ages to getting experience with the first team and playing against other academies and things like that it’s such a good experience to have at my age.
“I coach the under-13s with Mark Jenkins. To be able go through the academy and then be given opportunities to coach the younger lot who are going through the same thing as you did, is really cool.”
Reed credits the academy for helping him grow as a player and says he is happy where he is as he hopes to be with Weston for many more years.
“It’s definitely special, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else because it’s close to home. Weston have the best coaching system around by far in my opinion,” he added.
“If I didn’t do football I would probably be kicked out of my room a lot. Football is the only reason I get out, a majorly of my mates are because of football. It’s quite a huge chunk of my life.
“Every day I do football, whether that’s playing, training or coaching. I also referee at the weekends. It’s my whole life and my life revolves around it.”
Reed made his first appearance for Weston back in November, during a Southern League Challenge Cup tie defeat at Paulton Rovers.
Despite the result, which saw players drafted in from the academy and into the first XI, the teenager felt his side were the better team on the day.
“It was a weird sort of experience,” he added. “It was a bunch of 17-year-olds who had been sent in to play a bunch of adults and the only difference between us and Paulton was the fact they were adults.
“Personally we played them off the park, we’ve got players in our academy system who play for the under-19s and are so technically gifted, they can play a pass like nothing. They were physically stronger that’s literally it.
“They just had the dominance because they are adults compared to a bunch of teenagers and that was the only difference.
“But it was such a good experience to play with my mates on my first-team debut at a great stadium with first team manager Scott Bartlett watching.
“I thought that was an amazing experience.”
Bartlett continued to show his faith in youth with Callum Eastwood, Ben Griffith and Ryan Jones all handed game time last season and Reed says his actions haven’t gone unnoticed and continue to serve as an inspiration.
“A lot of managers now when they pick up a youth player either go ‘right, you are going to sit on the bench the whole season and unless all my players get injured you’re going to be a last resort’.
“Or ‘you’re going to sit on my bench and I’ll give you as many minutes as, when I can’. I prefer to be given the chance to have minutes than sit on a bench all day.
“It’s really good to know we have a first-team manager and coach who really believes in his players. I think he is quite lucky to have a foundation of youth he’s got.
“You’ve got players like Jonesy, he’s playing for England Colleges that never comes round the corner especially when you are in Weston.
“You’ve got Ben and Callum, he’s quite lucky to have a youth system like Weston do.”
Earlier last year, Weston were one of only 22 clubs outside the Football League to be awarded an Academy Licence and Reed feels everything from top to bottom is geared for future success.
He added: “Weston right now is probably at the best stage it is. The youth academy is really good, you’ve got really good coaches, their coaching is really good, technical and as they develop and get to my age and break into the first team Weston will have a very good future.
“There’s loads of technically gifted players who can score goals and play possession like the first team’s motto, keeping the ball, moving the ball and get into positions where you can score and winning games and enjoying it.
“My whole experience of Weston I’ve enjoyed, even when I’ve lost I’ve still enjoyed it because I’m playing at a high standard with my mates.
“I never thought I would ever get to that experience when I was playing for Nailsea and teams like that.”
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