A Word About The Kiddos

Since today’s an off day for the senior side, let’s take a moment to talk about our youth program.  The Sons of Steeple Sinderby is designed to locate promising teenagers in local high school and travel teams, give them top-class training under the expert guidance of Jacopo Tezze, one of the best defenders to don the red and and white, and hopefully groom them to be the next generation of Wanderers.  While this all sounds simple enough, the brutal truth is this: they will not make it.

Since inception, our academy has produced precisely two players who have played any meaningful role for the senior side:  Alex Barton, who the coaches think could grace the national team one day, and Nick King, who not only can productively follow the same training plan as Barton, but also had the great good fortune to come along at a time when SSW was younger and poorer.  He would never get a look in today.  Indeed, the backroom staff is privately dubious that any current youth player will join the senior squad.

Compared to those two, the casualties are many.  Tezze has had to tell over 60 lads that their professional dreams were not to be.  Some faces crumble, some manage a stoic defiance belying their tender years, but all are forced to attempt to reassemble lives whose central purpose has been snatched from them.

So why continue the academy?  Because of youngsters like Adolfo Arizti.  Adolfo is one of the most likeable players ever to come out of our academy, a merry soul always ready to to lift a teammate’s spirit with a well-placed joke.  He is also an old school “fox in the box,” a solidly clinical finisher with no other skills of note.  That isn’t nearly enough to catch on with us, especially combined with a lack of elite speed, aerial ability, creativity or the like, but is promising enough that Lux Nova, a squad in the lower reaches of the Italian league was willing to take him on.  SSW only got a nominal transfer fee for him (barely enough to cover his plane ticket and goodbye party) but, more importantly, we also get the satisfaction of providing a young man with a chance to follow his dream and travel the world.  So, arrivederci Adolfo, and may you and the dozen other alums we’ve sent out into the world bring glory to themselves and their new sides.  Unless they’re playing us.


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