The Full Story
The Youth section of Brading Town FC began in 1975. The ‘Colts’ were founded by,
the then Club Secretary, Alec Woodhouse. After beginning with an Under 11 team,
the section grew in subsequent years adding teams at Under 9, 13 and 15. The
Colts played their home games at Beechgrove in Brading.
The modern incarnation of the Colts started in 2003/04 when a discussion was had
regarding the direction of the youth section and the teams were taken under the wing
of the senior Club. Chris Colwill, who had been Secretary since 2001, and first team
player and U9’s manager Steve Lawton reinvented the section. Their aim was to
focus on development and inclusion. Many children, who were not being given
opportunities elsewhere, came and enjoyed their football with Brading. Steve’s side,
who he ran from U9’s up to U15’s (he left when his family moved to the USA ),
started out as league-strugglers went on to win the league and cup double at the
U14’s age group. The whole ethos of how Chris and Steve wanted the club to go
was encapsulated in that season and has set the tone up to the present day.
The section grew and was represented through sides from Under 8s to Under 16s.
By then, the teams were using Brading Primary School, Lake Middle School (now
Broadlea Primary), Sandham Middle and occasionally the Astroturf at Sandown High
School (now The Bay Secondary). Steyne Park in Bembridge was added for 11v11
Another strand of thinking during this time, was making the link between the senior
and youth teams, giving youngsters an avenue into the senior side and in some
cases even further. Since the early 2000s the Club has seen many youth players go
through the system and into the senior side which is brilliant for all involved to see.
One of the Colts, goalkeeper Stuart Moore, whose father and brother both played for
the club, went on into the professional game reaching the heights of the Premier
When Chris stood down in 2008, Ged Riley became Secretary and in 2010
Mark Powell became Chairman.
Ged and Mark realised that the next stage for the club was to be recognised for the
emphasis on player development that had gone before. With financial backing at a
key time from long-standing supporters Sandown Rotary Club, each team manager
gained an FA Coaching qualification and this allowed the Colts to be awarded
Charter Standard status by the FA in 2012. This was soon followed by FA
‘Development Club’ accreditation.
Now being seen as the most progressive youth club on the Island, the Colts were
approached by the FA to host a series of girls-only football sessions. Held at
Vicarage Lane, the FA Skills Team put on training events with the aim of generating
interest in the female game that Brading would then continue.
In 2015, the Girls section was formed and began playing in games organised by the
Isle of Wight Council, before in 2016 entering the newly-formed IW Girls Saturday
Youth League. Brading Town Colts became Brading Town Youth FC; the name
change better reflecting the composition of teams within the club.
With this expansion, as well as coaches gaining advanced qualifications, Brading
Town Youth FC became the first club on the Island to gain the ‘gold standard’ of FA
What followed saw the Club become Hampshire FA’s Club of the Year and
subsequently win a number of further HFA Awards.
As part of the FA criteria for maintaining accreditation, a Development Plan was
written that considered further diversification in age groups and ability.
In 2017, the Microstrikers were created, taking boys and girls from 4 years old. This
gained Hampshire FA’s ‘Tots Approved’ mark in 2019 for the quality of provision.
2018 saw yet another departure of the Youth section when they were invited by
walking football club, Caulkhead Strollers, to supply coaches for an initiative to
increase participation in pan-disability football. From a series of successful sessions
in schools, teams were formed and entered in to a mainland League. After a
successful season, the Strollers disbanded and the players were brought in to
Brading Youth formally, founding the ‘Invicta’ section in 2019.
With the focus on development then it may be seen that results and winning would
be sacrificed but, as seen with Steve Lawton’s side, they are not mutually exclusive,
in fact they can be seen as entirely complimentary. The Youth section can boast
multiple Island League titles, Cup and Tournament winners’ medals, winners’
trophies from the prestigious Sports Tours and SCI Tournaments, Beach Soccer
championship crowns and numerous other local competition victories. Most notably
Mark Cook and Simon Bligh took their respective teams in to the Mid-Solent League,
winning both League and Cup competitions, Bligh’s team claiming another unbeaten
season to add to two Island seasons previously.
The future for the Youth section is bright; the development of a home ground at
Rowborough Field in Brading has begun and the latest Development Plan aims to
provide more training and playing opportunities for wider sections of the community
in to the new decade and beyond.