Youth development provides pathway for future excellence

Handsworth Ryan Cresswell
Handsworth Ryan Cresswell
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FA Executive David Bernstein once described Handsworth’s youth development set-up as the ‘blue-print’ for non-league football.

That’s how good the Sheffield club’s system is.

And it’s a system that has led to a host of Handsworth graduates currently plying their trade in the Football League.

Among the biggest names to benefit from Handsworth’s nurturing are Alex Kiwomya, now of Chelsea, former Rotherham United skipper Ryan Cresswell, who recently completed a big-money move to Fleetwood Town and Jordan Chapell of Torquay United.

With over 29 teams throughout the club structure, Handsworth has become a professional-standard football school for youngsters across Sheffield and South Yorkshire from the Under-6s upwards.

“What makes the Handsworth set-up so successful is the passion of our kids from a young age,” says club development manager Steve Holmes.

“Starting from the age of six, there is real will for everyone to improve and it helps that we run everything as it would be at a professional football club.

“Chairman John Ward and president Bob Hill have been the driving force behind this – they deserve huge credit for the set-up.”

The merger between Parramore and Handsworth means the Parras will benefit from the best young talent in Sheffield and for next season they have signed up the latest crop of promising youngsters who may grace the Football League during their careers.