Staying behind after school!
PUBLISHED: 14:33 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:17 24 August 2010
By Ben Kosky ALL good things must come to an end . That maxim can be applied to virtually every successful team in any sport. In the case of a school team, it s inevitable that the all-conquering unit will disintegrate when its players walk out of the sc
By Ben Kosky
'ALL good things must come to an end'. That maxim can be applied to virtually every successful team in any sport.
In the case of a school team, it's inevitable that the all-conquering unit will disintegrate when its players walk out of the school gates for the last time.
Not necessarily, says Paul Lawrence, head of PE at Copland Community School in Wembley - whose Year 12 football team have been borough and county champions for the last two seasons.
Lawrence has decided to set up an adult team bearing the school's name and is now applying to enter senior Saturday football in the Middlesex County League.
If the new club - to be called Copland FC - are accepted into Division Three, it would give the school's talented youngsters the opportunity to continue their sporting education 'in-house'.
"For a number of years, when our sixth form leave, most of them have asked me to place them with local teams such as Willesden Constantine or South Kilburn," Lawrence explained.
"So the idea was that, instead of passing them on to different clubs, we could put them into an adult team here. If we play at a decent standard, it'd be ideal for them to improve their game and their fitness.
"This is something I've been thinking about for a few years, but the sixth form have done so well in the last couple of seasons that this is an ideal time to use them as a nucleus.
"But I'm certainly not going to make it compulsory - a lot of them play for clubs outside school already. I wouldn't expect anyone to suddenly stop playing with their mates."
In the past, a number of Copland's players have ended up on the books of Premier and Football League clubs, either during or since their time at school.
The best-known is Arsenal defender Kerrea Gilbert, who has been loaned to Cardiff and Southend during the past two years, while Dean Sylvester spent time at QPR and Chelsea before moving into non-league football.
Chelsea currently have Copland student Reece Mitchell in their youth set-up, while Rahim Sterling is at QPR and Karimm German has just signed a two-year deal with Luton Town.
But two of the stars of Copland's 'double double' winning side, Aaron Silcott and Fred Asante, are heading overseas to try their luck in Malta and Qatar respectively.
That trend, though, could change if the new team - which has the full backing of head teacher Sir Alan Davies - gets the green light from the Middlesex County League.
Lawrence, who plans to include staff and former students in the side as well, added: "We're in the process of having two new grass pitches and an Astroturf one built on site.
"The eventual plan is to play there but, while the building work's going on, we're looking to play at Wembley Park Sports Ground.
"Although South Kilburn are already there, I can't see it being a problem - there are two pitches and we could alternate fixtures anyway.
"I've got the forms from the league, I've spoken to [secretary] Stephen Hosmer and he's welcomed our application. This is something I'm very committed to and I hope we get the opportunity to make it work.
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