Read what Head Coach for the U15 & U13, Ola Falck Sprauten has to say!
Our U15 and U13 program has experienced incredible growth over the past few years. We have gone from having around 35 players at practice, where a minority were U13 players, to having around 60 players at practice during the fall of 2015, where about 30% of them were U13. Thanks to the amazing support we’ve received from organizations such as Sparebankstiftelsen DNB and our Boosters, we’ve been able to provide our players with the much needed practice equipment that supports our program’s growth.
Not only have our numbers increased, but our player retention has improved a lot as well – especially amongst the younger players. As a result, we have been able to generate a steady flow of experienced players for our U17 team, enabling us to have a solid number of players across our youth teams.
The highlight last year for our U13 players was the Lucia Cup hosted by the Göteborg Marvels just before Christmas in which we were able to play more games than we have ever done before at this level. The Swedish teams are still a bit too strong for us, but by growing our program, we hope to be giving the Swedes a run for their money in a few years’ time.
Due to the incredible numbers we are experiencing in 2016, this year will also be the first year we are fielding two teams for the U15 season. With relatively few games, this is the best way we can offer more development and playing opportunities for everyone. No amount of practice can make up for game experience, so we are making a conscious effort to get as many players on the field as possible during the season.
In addition to growing our player numbers by nearly 100% this year, we have also been able to increase our number of coaches as well. At the U15 level, we have Derek Mann, our Head Coach, QB Coach, and Offensive Coordinator; Nicolay Aslaksen, our Running Back Coach, Linebacker Coach, and Defensive Coordinator; and Dino Anghelopoulos, our Receiver and Defensive Back Coach. At the U13 level we have, Emil Buø our Line and Linebacker Coach, Emil Kjenstad our Receiver and DB coach, and myself the Head Coach. A number of our coaches have played in the Oslo Vikings system themselves and we regularly welcome former U17 players to help with our youth programs. In this way we can educate tomorrow’s coaches and further strengthen the club.
I am thrilled for what 2016 has in store for our young players and confident that the Vikings’ 30th year anniversary will be a great one for our youth program!