Needham Market FC has changed the name of their men’s reserves to U23 to modernise the structure of the club.
The U23’s manager, James Mant said: “I personally think there is a negative stigma around the name ‘reserves’ in young players. The name isn’t heard of in the professional game anymore and it’s not commonly known to the young players coming into the club. U23 is current - so this modernises our structure and also gives us a name which is slightly more reflective of the young team in which we are.”
Needham Market Academy Director, Robert Peace said: “It's important to have a clear pathway from our youth into the U18s, then U23s in preparation for first team football for those who excel within the environment we provide at Needham Market Academy.”
Players who have previously come through the reserve team include Callum Page who signed his first professional contract in 2021 with Ipswich Town. A large number of Kevin Horlock’s first team squad is also made up of academy graduates and current students who have all played within the reserve team previously.