Ryan Smales is the man tasked with running the new third team at Feniton Football Club.
The ambitious Acland Park outfit will not be able to field their third team in Joma Devon & Exeter League action until the start of the 2021/22 season, but have made the move now so the new man has plenty of time to settle into the role and build a team.
Smales played for Stoke Hill and launched his coaching career with the Exeter-based club’s Under-14 side and soon secured his coaching qualifications through the county FA. He came to the attention of the South Dartmoor Academy where he landed a coaching role looking after a side that played in the Junior Premier League which involved matches against clubs all over the south of England. Smales’ next move was to the United States where he spent four years working with young players. During his time in the USA he enjoyed a great deal of travel to coach at various Summer Camps and he also undertook a university degree specific to football coaching alongside attaining the UEFA B License.
We caught up with the new Feniton third team boss and first up asked him for his thoughts on the Acland Park outfit.
He replied saying: “I have only actually come up against the club once before, and its a day that I’m not too fond of remembering to be honest!
“I was playing for Thorverton and it was around the time that Feniton won the Devon & Exeter League Premier Division, and so we knew they were a strong side. We were 2-0 up at half-time and absolutely flying, but they took charge in the second half and we lost 4-2!”
He continued: “I do remember there being a bit of a following with plenty of people on the sidelines.
“I have had conversations with both James [Feniton first team boss James Hiscox] and Mel [Feniton club secretary Mel Mead] and what really struck me is that Feniton is clearly a popular club that has lots of like-minded folk involved and is certainly a club with a very bright future.”
Next up we asked Smales what his thoughts were on the new third team at Acland Park.
He replied: “The advent of a third team is very much a case of the team being able to add greater depth to the club in playing terms.
“It’ll predominantly be a young side, but also a team with a couple of senior heads in to provide that much needed experience in terms of the development of the younger players.”
As for what the new man will be doing between now and the start of the 2020/21 campaign, he explained saying:
“Once football resumes I’ll be straight out to watch the club’s Under-18s and Under-16s as that is where the majority of the third team is going to come from.
“I’m told that the two teams both have strong groups which is exciting for not only myself, but for the club and for those young players themselves as this team is predominantly for them to improve on the qualities they already have and push themselves and the club forwards.”
He continued: “Of course, a club third team is never simply 11 youngsters. There needs to be balance and other players, be that from the current second team or outside the club.
“What is going to be important is that, no matter where third team players might have played their football previously, it is going to be important that everyone is on board with the clubs mentality of moving forward and improving across the board.”
With regard to a ‘style of play’, the new third team boss says: “I have a fairly clear vision of how I would like us to play, and speaking to the people I’ve spoken with so far it seems to me that we are all in a similar mindset on that.
“It’s important to have a structure or system that’s consistent, but also for it to be open to interpretation.”
There’ll be no formal forming of the third team until the conclusion of the current season.
Smales explained the thinking saying: “There are two reasons for that. The primary one being that the current U16s and U18s are both playing their own seasons and, as they will provide the bulk of the new senior side there’s no point adding to their workload and two, I can now take my time getting to know current players, the club, committee members etc and ensure that, when we do have our third team ready we ought to be able to hit the ground running for the start of the 2021/22 campaign.”