On Tuesday evening, Boreham Wood were on the wrong end of a 4-0 score line as we took on Royston Town in the Herts Senior Cup at their Garden Walk ground. However, despite the defeat, Wood named a squad consisting of no less than TEN young players from our renowned PASE academy, with SEVEN of those players making their first team debuts.

Despite the disappointing result, the game allowed Boreham Wood FC First Team Manager Luke Garrard to gauge our Academy strength, as it provided the opportunity for seven players to be rewarded with first team debuts, due to some impressive performances and the hark work within the youth academy and its staff.

Josh Rodriguez, Luke Brophy, Hamza Semakula, Darnell Kithambo and Kieron Owusu all started the game, whilst David Mensah and Prince Kandolo featured from the bench in the second half. These seven players joined Charlie Wickham, who made his debut earlier in the season in National League play against Chorley in front of the BT Sport cameras, making it eight total players from the Academy to make their senior debuts this season.

On the night it proved a step too far for some the young lads at this early stage in their development, however they would have learnt much from the experience, and sometimes it is in adversity that we learn most. Cameron Mawer said in a post-match interview, “The young boys will learn from it, and hopefully use it as a springboard, and now they know of the level they have to get to.”

PASE Academy player Hamza Semakula deserved a special mention as he held his own in the midfield depsite difficult conditions. Semakula has been impressive for the PASE Academy since joining the scheme 18 months ago, and now adds his senior debut to his international accolades of last season, when he earned himself a call up to the England College’s FA national team. Cameron Mawer was quoted in a post-match interview saying, “Hamza ran his socks off and was effective when he managed to get on the ball.”

Luke Brophy also deserves a special mention after he worked tirelessly playing left-wing back. Brophy also adds his first team debut to England College’s honours, following his call up to the national representative side just last month. In fact, Luke’s attention turned to international duties immediately after the fixture on Tuesday night, as he was due at England’s training base St. George’s Park the next morning to report for the ECFA’s first training camp and warm up games of the season.

In addition to the seven boys who made their debuts, special mentions must also go to Sandro Freitas, Kai Wint and Donnabhan Green, who were unused substitutes on the night and will with further hard work and dedication get their opportunities in months and years to come.

On behalf of everyone from our education partners Barnet and Southgate College, and here at Boreham Wood FC, in particular our Academy staff, we want to take this opportunity to congratulate all these players on a fantastic achievement. Well done, lads!

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