Regan Start: Community spirit in the youth team.

Young Imps keeper Regan Start was recently named in ‘The 11’, a League Football Education (LFE) ‘celebrating success’ programme. He was one of just 11 youngsters chosen from thousands of potentials.

To give you some idea of the magnitude of this success the squad also included players from Leeds, QPR and Bolton Wanderers. Fine praise indeed for the community spirited 17-year old.

Regan is a local lad who started out with Lowlands u11 side. He picks up the story from there.

“I started my footballing career at Lowlands, and signed for Lincoln at under 11’s after I was scouted by Steve Harris. I’ve played here ever since”

Regan, like Jenk Acar a week ago, has praise for his youth team coach.

“Damian Froggatt is my youth team manager and he’s helped me progress as a person and a footballer”

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As a person young Regan has certainly progressed into a sensible young man. He is well known for giving up his own time in an evening to work with younger players to help them improve. It is one factor that helped him get named as one of The 11. I asked him what he felt had contributed to him getting the award.

“Off the pitch extras such as coaching etc, and showing I can step my game up when playing/training with the pros. I like to illustrate my techniques to the younger keepers and give them an insight on what it takes to become a scholar, the more keepers we bring through the better.”

Training with the first team is something that Danny and Nicky insist on for the younger players, and Regan feels it has been of benefit to his game.

“It (training with the first team) is very good, the tempo they train at day in day out is extraordinary, you have to be on your game 100% of the time. I also feel like they involve you in everything, I feel very much at home when training with them”

That is a strong testament to the motivation and attitude of the first team players, that a youngster can join up and feel part of the squad. One thing many of them may not experience is being named one of the top young scholars in the country, and Regan is aware of how much of an achievement it is.

“I was amazed and honoured to be named because I was chose out of 1000’s of players!!”

The focus now for Regan is much as you’d expect for a young player, progression through the ranks.

“I’d like to become a pro footballer and push my self to the best I can be, and play at the highest level of football I can.”

Having seen some of the other young players benefit from going out on loan, I wondered if perhaps that might be the next logical step in this sensible keeper’s journey.

“Yeah I hope that I could go out on loan because I feel getting into men’s football is important for both mental and physical development because it is very much a results based business and the players are much stronger than youth team players.”

Academy Manager Damon Froggatt spoke very highly of his protégé when speaking to the Lincoln City Youth Academy website after Regan won his award.

“Regan has shown an exceptional commitment to his apprenticeship and is a real role model for the younger players in the academy. He is selfless, passing on his technical knowledge and sharing his experience with the young goalkeepers but at the same time developing his social and leadership skills. At college he has been one of the most improved students in terms of attitude, application and effort and is applying himself well.”

Being named in The 11 also puts Regan in a good position in the Apprentice of the Year award named later in the season. The LFE name The 11 four times a year, and that in turn counts towards the major award at the end of the season. With his commitment not only to his own career, but also that of other young players, I can see Regan being a strong contender.