Thursday, August 30, 2007

Freddie Sears to represent England is reporting that the Brian Eastick has chosen his U19 side to represent England against Belarus on September 11. From the reports, he made his criteria based on last years performances and since Freddie was the leading Academy scorer as well as a top performer for the U18s, the call up was warranted.

Freddie is excited at this prospect and says:

"One of my aims this season, apart from trying to score more goals, was to be selected to play for England, so I was really pleased to get the call," he said.

"I am excited as it will be a totally different experience for me. But I also know I have to make the most of it.

"The other boys here at West Ham who have played for their countries already have been giving me some tips. One of the main ones was do your best and hopefully you will be called back again." It will also be a proud moment for the Sears family, when Freddie joins up with the England squad.

"They are all quite excited for me," admits Freddie "My family will be cheering me on for sure if I get to play.

"I am also proud to be representing West Ham on the international stage. If I get a chance to play then that will be great, if not, I am happy to be part of the squad and hopefully I can go on from there."

Good on ya Freddie, best of luck!

West Ham Reserves v. Aston Villa

Although the reserves lost 2-1 vs. Aston Villa, Kevin Keen fielded a young side that included First teamers Jimmy Walker and "Johnny Pants" with recent Academy graduates Kyel Reid and Tony Stokes as well as many current Academy trainees.

Reid hit a 25 yarder in the game as he puts his bid in to help replace an injured Kieron Dyer. I know Curbs has a ton of money behnd him at this time, but I can't believe that he wont give Pantsil a try instead of buying more players that will undoubtedly get injured...

To update a previous post, David Blackmore was on the bench and further investigating shows that his loan to Crawley was just to train with the first team before the season.

Hopefully the reserves can catch some wins this years and not have a repeat performance of the dreadful season of last.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

West Ham U12s

Reading on the KUMB message boards, I have found that the West Ham under 12s were in Japan to take part in the 8th Shizuoka World tournament against teams from Holland, Argentina, Mexico and Japan.

The boys did pretty well coming in 2nd place. Congrats to them and lets hope they continue the path for The Academy. Congrats U12s!

Future Academy Star?

Dean Ashton has pulled out of the match today against Bristol Rovers as his partner just went into labor.

He is now anxiously waiting for the star of the Academy's 2024 youth Cup winning campaign to be born.

Congrats Dean-o the boys will bring a win home for you, smoke a cigar and enjoy your first foray into fatherhood!

Academy v. Portsmouth

A sad day for the academy as they failed to claim their first point of the season.

(From the Official Site)

West Ham United's Under-18s fell to a 1-0 defeat away at Portsmouth after being only minutes away from taking home their first point of the season.

It looked like being a stale-mate in what was a frustrating game for Director of Youth Academy Tony Carr and his team, until the home side was awarded a debatable free-kick on the edge of the area.

A low left-foot shot went agonisingly under the feet of the boys in the West Ham wall and into the corner of the net.

With not many chances created by either side, it was a disappointing end to the match, which the Hammers at least deserved a share of the spoils.

"It was petering out to a 0-0 draw and I think that would have been the right result. They didn't deserve to win and we didn't deserve to lose, admits Tony

"It had been a pretty fair challenge on one of their boys, which to be fair on another day would have gone unnoticed, but they were awarded the free-kick and lucky for them, it went in."

He added: "It was the only decent shot they had on goal, but it wasn't a good game overall. They stuck 10 behind the ball, were not attacking and adventurous, so it was hard to break that down and get our football flowing. In fact, their staff came up to me afterwards and apologised for the way they approached the game."

While it has been a disappointing start by the Hammers' standards, Tony said there is enough in the team to see the corner being turned in terms of results pretty soon.

"We can do better, but it's only two games in and there's a long road ahead yet, said Tony.

"And just because you are losing games, doesn't mean you don't have good players.

We have Watford up next, at home this weekend and we go again.

"Obviously we are looking not only for our first points of the season but also our first goal. Some of the boys will be involved in reserve games as that kicks in this week.

"But while it can have an adverse effect on our matches, it can also be positive as the boys who play in the reserves might get a goal or put in a good performance and bring that into our match on the Saturday."

"The important thing is for me is to lift the team and make sure the confidence and belief is there. We are not far away from getting a result, I am sure of that."

West Ham United: Stech, O'Neill, Blackwell, Miller, N'Gala, Harvey, Stanislas, Lee, Hunt, Sears, Jeffery

Subs: Street, Ashman, Edgar (Stanislas), Fry (Jeffery), Kearns (Lee)


At least we all know Tony Carr will be diligent in righting the ship. Also, I'm sure the return of Jordan Spence after the Young Lions are through with he World Cup will provide a boost of morale as well as a rock in Central Defense. Now if they could start scoring....

England U17 v. Brazil: 2-1

I'm sure every true fan has heard of it so far, but this site's biggest news over the weekend was the last second winner from Jordan Spence to seal the victory over Brazil in the U17 World Cup!!!


With a cultured swing of his right boot, Jordan Spence made history at the Goyang Stadium on Friday night.

With England and Brazil locked at 1-1 in injury-time, the Three Lions skipper cleverly diverted Henri Lansbury's shot past Marcelo's outstretched right hand before embarking on a joyous celebration.

Not only did the West Ham's defender's goal ensure his country topped Group B, it meant England beat Brazil for the first time ever at a FIFA Finals.

"It's a blur now," said Spence as he tried to recall his moment of history.

"When the ball fell to Henri I was pleased as of all the people it could have landed to, he has scored some great goals from the edge of the area. But he did not seem to catch it right.

"I managed to stay onside, I just wanted to direct it towards goal. I did not see the ball hit the back of the net. As soon as I made contact I was gone. It was the biggest buzz. Crazy. Just one of those feelings where I wish I could hit a rewind button and go through it all again."

Spence has enjoyed much success since taking the captain's armband at U16 level but, for a pure adrenaline rush, his goal against Brazil takes some beating.

"There are a few highlights - The European Championship Final and how we got there, and qualifying in Bosnia, but for a sheer moment of joy, this is up there," he added.

Like the rest of his team-mates, Spence was always confident England would emerge victorious from their meeting with Brazil.

While the small contingent of England fans feared the worst when Tales' 40-yard free-kick deceived Alex Smithies in the England goal, Spence remained unruffled.

"It was a freak goal," he insisted. "But football can change in a matter of seconds so we never thought it wouldn't be our day just because that went in."

England equalised through Lansbury's penalty at the end of the first half, but there was another twist to the tale when Brazil won an 82nd minute penalty.

But Smithies guessed right, diving to his left to parry Lulinha's penalty and keep England in with a chance of victory.

"Alex has got a great record at saving penalties," said the captain. "I think he's saved five for England - that's ridiculous. He got us out of trouble. That gave us a big boost. I thought 'let's go and win it now'."

And England did just that, with Spence's instinctive finish the difference between the sides.

"Hopefully we have sent a message out to the other teams and to the public who doubted us at the start of the tournament that we are here to win it," said the captain.

"We have the capabilities to do so. We will enjoy the moment, but we will push this to one side and concentrate on who we will play in the next round."

Spence was adamant that the bar of expectation has not been raised in light of the win as the team were always aiming to reach the top of the mountain from the moment they left for Korea.

"The aim was always to win the World Cup," he said. "If you are not here to win it then there's no point being here. We set the initial objective of winning the group and we have done that. The next objective is to win our game in the last-16. But ultimately the goal is to win the World Cup. If we play to our potential there is no reason why we can't do that."


Truly a testament to The Academy of Football. Cheers to Jordan and good luck against Syria!

Apologies for the break

Ugh, out for too long! and for the record, if anyone ever goes to Philadelphia, try to go when there is little humidity... good city though, go to Jim's Steak for a good cheese steak.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Where Are They Now: Freddy Eastwood

Just saw that former Academy trainee Freddy Eastwood scored for Wales in his International debut, as a mini tribute he gets to be the second in this blog's "Where Are They Now" series.

Freddy left The Academy after Roeder thought he wasn't good enough (jackass...) and moved to conference side Gray's Athletic. He scored 37 league and cup goals in his first season, winning the Grays' Golden Boot and in turn his professional stock soared.

Eastwood moved to Southend United in October 2004, initially on loan and made his debut for the club in spectacular style, scoring the opener after 7.7 seconds (a record for a debutant). At Southend, Eastwood became somewhat of a cult hero, especially after the memorable free kick against Man U which saw the Shrimpers win 1-0.

In July 2007, Freddy completed a £1.5m move from Southend to Wolves and has been starting for them in the Championship this year. (More on Freddy)

Great to see a player battle up through the leagues. I would love to say that we should have always kept him, but from the looks of it, he needed that time to develop into the player he is now. Good luck to him and if he keeps on getting better I for one would welcome him back.

Academy v. Fulham

Don't know how I missed this earlier in the week... From the Official Site

21/08/2007 09:00

West Ham's Under-18's narrowly lost out to their London rivals Fulham on Saturday in a game which saw them unlucky not to have taken all three points themselves.

A goal 12 minutes from time by the West London side broke the deadlock but on another day more deadly finishing from the young Hammers would have seen them through.

Yet heads were not down after the game, as West Ham's Director of Youth Academy, Tony Carr, explained.

"We just needed to be a bit more clinical in front of goal, he said. "We had chances and I thought overall we played well. So, while it was disappointing to lose, I was pleased with the attitude and the way went about the game.

"If we played poorly and lost, I would have been more worried, it was simply not being able to get the ball over the line."

Hammers started well creating chances and penned in the visitors for much of the first half but it remained at 0-0 at half-time.

After the break, Hammers again had the most of the opportunities to go ahead and Ben Hunt thought he had scored only to see his effort ruled out for off-side.
Freddie Sears saw a chance parried by the Fulham keeper and Jack Collison agonisingly hit the post with another good effort.

Anthony Edgar got away well on the left but just could not lift it over the keeper and several other chances followed, all scrambled off the line by Fulham.

It was a counter-attack that caught Hammers and resulted in the visitors taking home the points.

West Ham face an away trip to play Portsmouth this Saturday and Tony said there is a lot to take into this match.

"The result didn't go our way but we have a lot to build on. We will work on making sure we are more clinical in front of goal but can go into the Portsmouth game with a lot of confidence."

West Ham United: Street, O'Neill, Miller, N'Gala, Blackwell, Stanislas, Collison, Harvey, Edgar, Hunt, Sears
Subs: Payne, Lee, Fry, Ashman, Kearns

A letter to McClaren

Dear Steve McClaren,

How many more Paul Robinson blunders does it take to give Robert Green a chance between the sticks for the Lions? Seriously, what does he have to do before you pull him permanently. Throw the ball in his own goal? Ninja kick Terry in the back? Take one shoe off and sit cross legged on the penalty spot?

...and while your at it, please install Anton in the defense so Greenie has someone he knows back there...


The Academy of Football

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thick with defenders

Reports abound with Welsh duo James Collins and Danny Gabbidon securing contract extensions at Upton Park. Good on them, I like both players a ton and they secure that we have a formidable back line for years to come.

Where does this leave young James Tomkins? Needing to go out on loan methinks...

Although still getting back to the match fitness that saw him practicing with the first team this time last year, from what I have read, he is a special talent who is one to watch for the future. I for one hope he gets a good loan spell and lives up to the recent strong line of Central Defenders that have come before (Anton, Rio, Elliot Ward).

England U17 v. New Zealand: 5-0

England absolutely drubbed New Zealand, they scored 5 from 3 players and look a good bet to move into the next round of the U17 World Cup.

Young Lions captain and Academy trainee Jordan Spence went the full 90 in the effort.

Not too much else to be read about his performance, but since New Zealand didn't score and there were no on-field bust ups, I guess he did his job... may have had his eyes closed... but did his job nonetheless

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ephraim given full debut for Q.P.R.

Academy graduate Hogan Ephraim was given his full debut for QPR against Cardiff City. R's boss John Gregory handed inserted him in place of Stefan Bailey.

Q.P.R. lost 0-2 and not too much was written on his performance but he went the full 90 up front. I hope this experience was just the beginning of some fantastic football.

Come on you Irons!

England U17 v. Korea DPR: 1-1

The Young Lions tied 1-1 with the Korean U17s on a sweltering day in Jeju. Academy trainee Jordan Spence went the full 90 and had a realistic look at the situation after the game. He says:

"We'd have to admit we did not play as well as we can, Everyone has off days. Conditions were tough, it was warm, but we are not going to use that as an excuse. It's no excuse for our ball retention and quality of play. It was hot and humid, but everyone got through it. The first game of any tournament is always a tough one." (full interview)

Signs of a honest leader... Let's hope things go better against New Zealand tomorrow.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Wanted Man

The Daily Mail reports:

Crystal Palace could still make a move for West Ham starlet Hogan Ephraim.

The midfielder recently joined QPR on loan but boss Peter Taylor admitted: "I'm going to keep an eye on his situation. I wouldn't rule out making a move for him later in the season."

Thats right... teams obsess over West Ham Academy graduates... good times!

U-17 World Cup Streaming

Keep tabs on England U17 captain Jordan Spence with FIFAs live streaming of the U17 World Cup from South Korea.

Visit this link... and follow the directions

England's first Group B game against South Korea will kick off Saturday, August 18th at 6AM UK time. (full schedule here)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Academy Season Starting

From the Official Site:

West Ham United's Under-18s kick off their FA Premier Youth Academy 2007-08 campaign with a home clash against Fulham on Saturday morning.

Tony Carr's team will welcome their London rivals to Little Heath before facing a trip to Portsmouth the following week.

For the full list of 2007-08 FA Premier Youth Academy fixtures, click here

Hogan to Q.P.R.

Seems that Crystal Palace and Colchester couldn't do enough to woo Academy graduate Hogan Ephraim to them.

Hogan will be joining Championship side Q.P.R. on a months loan starting 8/11 and will be wearing #25.

Hogan was eligible to play for Q.P.R. as early as their opening league match against Bristol City and was used as a substitute, coming in as a forward on the 58th, from the looks of the report he put some nice passes on and almost gave some assists.

He did not feature in their 2-1 Carling Cup defeat to Leyton Orient.

Here's to hoping he gets a run on and scores in their next match against Cardiff City on the 18th.

U.S. vs. Sweden

Looks like Jonathan Spector could be lining up opposite Freddie Ljungberg in the upcoming U.S. vs. Sweden friendly. Heres to hoping they both make it out knock free.

Who will get the best of who? Well, from the Man City performance, Spector is going to have a long day. Good to see two international caps for West Ham though.

Where Are They Now: San Lee

While reading the last post something caught my eye. it seems the U17s flew into Jeju where they are preparing for the U17 World Cup. That was familiar becuase that is now the home of ex-academy player San Lee (or Lee San depending on how you do it).

After leaving The Academy of Football, Lee played for Brentford and then with Sheffield United, unfortunately he did not make a strong impression for either and from the sound of it, got knocked off the ball a lot. After attempting to catch on with trials at Colchester and Billeracay Town he signed for Tiptree United in 2006.

In 2007, Jeju United manager Jung Hae-sung was in England visiting the Reading set-up and apparently met up with Lee to persuade him to have a go in the K-League. He was successful and Lee now plays for Jeju. I would love to know how he is doing but alas, I can't read Korean.

From a Premiership Academy to the Eastern Counties Football League First Division to the K-League (1st to 10th to South Korea) what a ride... at least he is playing somewhere