Special report: All systems go with Rovers’ youth remit - Ben Mawson

Ben Mawson
Ben Mawson

Ben Mawson is a key figure in Doncaster Rovers’ plan to develop and promote more local talent at first team level.

Mawson is the club’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) co-ordinator as well as the Foundation Phase lead coach.

“The processes we are currently going through will only help to improve the quality of players coming through our system,” he said.

“Throughout the time I’ve been here full-time there has always been an emphasis on developing young players and promoting from within.

“We have an excellent structure in place and I’m certainly looking forward to the challenge.

“Our biggest challenge is to ensure that the best local youngsters from Doncaster are given an opportunity to play for Rovers and are not taken by other clubs around the region.”

EPPP is a youth scheme initiated by the Premier League which, among other things, has helped clubs up and down the land re-focus their youth development schemes.

Mawson said: “My EPPP role is very focused and has a very clear remit.

“The audit criteria is very clear and is similar to an OFSTED inspection at a school.

“The EPPP audit process is something which every Football League club is part of and we have our audit in October.

“My role is to ensure that we have the necessary processes, structures and programmes in place in order to achieve an outstanding report and initial Category 3 status.

“Our aim is to achieve Category 2 status in the future.

“The core elements of my role are developing the coaching curriculum to be holistic, create a clear player progression pathway, providing feedback and developing a concise recruitment criteria and progression process for the academy.

“My role as lead coach is to oversee the recruitment and development of young players.

“Having been heavily involved in the recruitment and development centres for the last three years, I’ve had the pleasure of watching many players from in and around Doncaster. In that time I’ve seen the standard of young players increase year on year.

“Since I first started out at Edlington White Stars around 12 years ago, not only has the standard of players increased significantly since then, but so has the standard of coaches.

“There seems to be more structure within the grassroots clubs and the people and coaches who run them seem to be more knowledgeable about how young players learn.

“I think the decision to change the format to 5v5 and 9v9 respectively has helped this.

“The Doncaster Boys’ League has always been at the forefront of modern thinking and change for the good of the children.”

n See next week for part two of this report.