Junior clubs find new home at state-of-the-art football hub in Sheffield

Top-bottom: Sheffield United Junior Blades FC and Abbey Lane Junior FC at their new home ground.

Top-bottom: Sheffield United Junior Blades FC and Abbey Lane Junior FC at their new home ground.

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Two of Sheffield's junior football clubs have found a new home at a state-of-the-art football facility that opened last month.

Abbey Lane Junior FC and Sheffield United Junior Blades FC have both opted to use the St. George’s Park Graves football hub at Graves Leisure Centre in Norton as their home ground.

Both clubs are part of the Sheffield and District Junior Sunday Football League, which holds over 11,000 players.

This facility is one of two of the country’s first FA-funded grassroots football ‘hubs’.

Abbey Lane JFC was established in 1982 and has since grown to 16 teams, from under 7s to under 18s.

Abbey Lane JFC Club Secretary Jonathan Camm said: "We are absolutely delighted to have found a new home here at St. George’s Park Graves.

"The facilities are fantastic and have enabled us to take on more players.

"We now have the capacity to put into motion plans to introduce female teams as well, and encourage as many people to get involved in the sport as possible.”

The Sheffield United Junior Blades FC was founded in 1981, and has grown to 110 players, spanning across eight different age groups, from six to sixteen

years old.

Before the team were able to play at the newly built hub, their games were frequently cancelled because of bad weather and they also struggled with expensive fees.

The partnership with St George’s Park Graves now means that the club is saving £6,000 a year on fees, and the players can train every week at the facility.

Junior Blades FC Club Chairman Nathan Flatley said: “It’s really exciting for the Junior Blades to be involved with the new St George’s Park Graves football hub.

”The artificial surfaces allow for many more hours of available playing time, so that our young players can develop their skills and confidence, and create a lasting passion for sport and exercise.”

St George’s Park Graves, managed by Pulse, boasts floodlit 3G artificial grass pitches, which combat the inevitable disruption caused by frozen and waterlogged surfaces during the winter months.

The site also includes modern changing facilities and an education room.

It is hoped that the new partnership established with the teams will help to further develop talent and coaching for young people in Sheffield.

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