How Portsmouth Academy gave parents a helping hand before breaking up for the summer
Pompey Academy have officially broken up for their summer break.
Youth players from under-nines up to the under-18s at Fratton Park are now officially off diary despite not playing for more than two months amid the coronavirus crisis.
Last week, the EFL confirmed the young Blues’ season was over, with games not to begin until the scheduled start of 2020-21 campaign at the earliest.
Youngsters had still been keeping themselves ticking over during the suspension of football, however.
Mark Kelly insisted it was crucial not only to keep the fledgling talents active, but also give parents some respite while schools are closed.
Now the academy will split for a few weeks as per usual and will offer a similar programme when they’re due back.
Youth boss Kelly said: ‘It wasn’t like we shut down because we worked right up until last Saturday setting up programmes and Zoom sessions.
‘There was still a lot of work going on. The schoolboys, from under-nines to under-15s, were given tasks to complete every week.
‘The scholars were setting the schoolboys challenges via video so there was a lot of really good work going on.
‘We thought it was massively important just to try to help parents and give the boys something to work towards every week.
‘They’re fit young kids and thought it was important to reach out and put a programme together to keep the kids occupied and keeping over, while giving the parents a bit of respite.
'We've done that and now are going to have a bit of a break for a few weeks and will put some more programmes in place because it’s a matter of keeping the kids engaged.
'At this point, the season would take a natural break now and would have probably played our last game last weekend.
‘We’re going to have a bit of a break then, depending on where we are and what is happening, we will reengage in a few weeks’ time and set a second part of a programme for the kids to concentrate on.
‘It’s about trying to keep kids engaged, active and help out parents - because parents need as much help as they can get during this!
‘We've got to remember they're fit, young lads and active all of the time. Most of the schoolboys are training two or three times a week, as well as playing on a Sunday.
‘We thought it was massively important to engage and try to help the parents and kids out.’