With immediate effect, the Solent Thrashers Academy will now be known as the Solent Seahawks. Per the Seahawks, the decision has been made to change their team name and logo for a number of reasons.
- They are now a football programme run independently from previous ‘parent’ club, the Solent Thrashers.
- The ultimate aim is to build a sustainable and competitive football programme for players from cadet age upwards – they want to develop players and feed them into whatever Adult or University team they choose.
- The change of logo and name are part of the rebranding of the team, as they have felt for some time that they have needed our own ‘brand’. The Solent Academy sides have played in red, black and white for four seasons now and had to carry a predominantly gold logo.
- Cadet football is now available at the Academy for the first time.
- The primary catalyst for changing the name is to attract Youth (U17) and Junior (U19) players from across the south who have been put off before for playing for a ‘rival’ club (the Thrashers organisation).
- The name ‘Seahawks’ was chosen partly as a nod to the original British American Football team in the town, the Southampton Seahawks who played 1984-89.
The main reason is to become a single independent Academy that provides competitive league football for U19’s across the south. For too long, sides have struggled to get through seasons with 20 or so Junior eligible players – and like many teams in the UK have had to forfeit games due to lack of numbers. The Seahawks had the choice of doing the same old thing again, or taking some bold moves to attract new players and begin to build a truly competitive Academy.
The Youth team has gone from strength to strength over the last three seasons, with three consecutive playoff and two BritBowl appearances, plus their first ever division championship last year (and a perfect 12-0 regular season record). Solent are now hoping that that translates into their Junior programme for 2017 and beyond.
As well as the graduation of a number of the Youth team into the Junior side, the Seahawks are also hoping to attract players from other teams along the south coast that do not currently participate in competitive U19 or U17 football.
The message is simple: come and play competitive football for the Seahawks and return to your Adult clubs after your academy career is over. We feel that players will return to their Adult team ‘ready to go’ and as a much better player for the coaching and experience gained at the Seahawks academy. They also know that the Academy strength is judged by how many quality players they produce for Adult football – and know that players can only really accelerate their learning when playing regular competitive games.
The Academy coaching staff has been bolstered by the addition of a number of experienced Uniball coaches – Southampton Stags HC Graham Thorpe, Solent Redhawks DC Russ Hewitt and Oxford Brookes coach Phil De Monte.
The new Cadet programme, for players U14, will be led by HC Nick Coe, one of the assistant coaches from last year’s 12-0 U17 team. It is the first season of Cadet football for the Academy, and the Seahawks will be looking to play some games for the first time in the summer. Coach Coe has already made contact with schools and activity events in the city as Solent look to grow the Academy from the Cadets upwards.
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