Pirates youth teams win big as Real Bedford nurture footballers of the future

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Real Bedford Under 13s Blacks Squad
Real Bedford Under 13s Blacks were among four youth sides at McMullen Park to win trophies Image: Jill Upton / Real Bedford

While most of the season’s headlines went to the Men’s and Women’s teams at McMullen Park for winning a double and a treble respectively, there was also success across the Girls teams to complete a wonderful opening season at youth level.

Their first season under the growing umbrella of Real Bedford has certainly been a fruitful one.

There were trophies for the Under 16’s, Under 15’s and beating them all were the Under 13’s Girls sides who brought home two trophies across their two sides this campaign.

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The Under 16’s side were victorious in their first ever Bedfordshire FA Under-16s Challenge Cup campaign after beating Luton Town 2-1 at Langford Football Club at the end of April.

Team Manager, Kathryn Martin-Harris is now looking forward to coaching the girls into whatever decision they make take next.

“I’m so proud of these girls, I’ve coached them since they were Under 8s and this is really the pinnacle of their achievements. They will now move into our open age or under 18s which is all part of transitioning to ladies football.”

The Under 16s Girls side of Real Bedford with the County Cup trophy
Real Bedford Under 16s with the County Cup trophy Image: Jill Upton / Real Bedford

The Under 15’s also claimed a trophy, sharing the Under 15s Division Two title with Stotfold FC; an excellent achievement given the side finished bottom of the division in 2022/23.

“To go from bottom of their division last year to top this year is a testament to the hard work of both players and coaches”, said Chair of Real Bedford Women’s and Girls, Jill Upton.

“The girls have worked so hard to play as a team and the guidance from the coaches has helped them gel and perform consistently well throughout this season and we can’t wait for next season to see what they can do together.”

The Real Bedford Under 15s Girls Squad
The Real Bedford Under 15s Girls Squad Image: Jill Upton / Real Bedford

Perhaps the most successful age group however came at Under 13s level as not one, but two sides also won trophies this season.

The Under 13s Blues won the Division Two title while the Under 13s Blacks won a league cup title of their own.

“The coaches, Connor, Abbie and I were delighted and relieved in equal measure to see the girls have a successful day today. Every one of them gave 100% today and we made lots of great memories for all the girls!” said Martin Trinder, Team Manager.

The Real Bedford Girls Under 13s Blues squad
The Under 13s Blues won a league cup of their own Image: Jill Upton

On top of what has been a ground-breaking season for the full Women’s side, as they reached Step Four with an Eastern Region Women’s Football League title under their belt, the future for the Women’s game looks bright.

The Women’s side also won the County Cup and League Cup against AFC Dunstable and Wroxham respectively in securing a treble of their own and many will be hoping they are not the last of the trophies.

Outgoing Women’s captain, Zara Carroll, who will continue in her age-grade coaching role, noted how far the club has come.

“This is a great club for developing and supporting girls football, we have so much talent coming through our youth teams I’m sure we can continue to provide the 1st team with home grown players.

“I am giving back to the club by volunteering to coach a youth team at the club to repay the time and nurturing that was given to me”.

It won’t be long before Charlie Bill takes charge of his first games in charge of Real Bedford Ladies at Step Four and the future of the Women’s and Girls section is in good hands ahead of another busy season for all at McMullen Park.

This article was amended on 4th June 2024 at 10:20am to reflect that the Under 15’s Girls Division Two title was shared between Real Bedford Girls and Stotfold FC.