By Jenny Gibson

Two grassroots football clubs in Huddersfield have forged a new partnership to create strong routes into the adult game for 16-year-olds and over.

Golcar United and Britannia Sports, who play at Paddock Cricket Club, have set up a new Pathway to Adult Football scheme that will see fledgling seniors developed and supported by both communities.

The move aims to stem the tide of teenagers leaving grassroots sports as they leave school, get jobs, continue their education, or simply lose interest – and make it easier for them to carry on playing the sport they love.

Kieran Lenihan, who is both Britannia Sports’ chairman and a coach for Golcar Juniors U10s, said: “We want to provide our squads with the option to keep playing, alongside their mates, and progress to adult leagues.

“By the time they get to 16, some of them have been with us for 10 years so it’s sad to lose them.”

Golcar United, based at the Skye Direct Stadium in the village, has high-standard first and second teams in the Northern Counties East Football League and the Yorkshire Amateur League – but the leap to this level from juniors can be tough and opportunities limited.


Kai Phillip who progressed from Golcar juniors to the first team. Images by: Huddersfield Hub photographer SEAN DOYLE

Britannia Sports, meanwhile, has three adult teams in the Huddersfield and District League and can offer talented young players the chance to rise through the ranks.

Keiran added: “At Golcar, we can only accommodate so many players, so it can be difficult to bring new starters through. Jumping to too high a level of football can lead them to give up and find something else to do.

“The goal for any player is to perform at the highest standard they can. This new structure will offer the opportunity of valuable match time in the adult game, to help them grow their skills and experience further.

“Partnering with Britannia means we can really open things up. Britannia play on Saturdays, while the juniors play on Sundays, so teens can actually do both, as they build experience in the adult game.”

The scheme will begin as soon as the 23/24 season ends, with pre-season training and friendlies. Players can try things out, to see if they want to sign on for 24/25.

Golcar and Britannia already have close links, with some Golcar Junior teams playing at Paddock, and some Golcar second team players having progressed from Britannia.

The new partnership is set to be a win-win for everyone, with Britannia benefiting from new recruits and teams and coaches working together with shared training sessions.


Community champion Peter Gledhill represents Golcar United at No 10 Downing Street