Today is the day we look at the current footballer’s thoughts.
Toby Ritzema, an exciting up and coming player who plays for St Peter and has also represented Jersey u18s this season shares his thoughts and ideas with myself.
Here is what he said:
What are your honest opinions of football in Jersey currently?
For me, as an u18 footballer, Jersey football is rather frustrating. With only around 5 teams in our u18 league we have a single game every month, so playing with my mates is a rarity. Luckily I’m at club like St. Peters where we are given the opportunity to play more and against different opposition in the Kent cup, which is very competitive and other clubs should definitely look into something similar.
We also are being given opportunities for the first team week in week out, which allows me to get a lot of football in. However, I’m sure for other u18 footballers on the island its almost as if they are going to have 10 football games in the whole season, which definitely isn’t enough.
Do you think the introduction of the Bulls is positive?
I feel the bulls is a great thing for football in Jersey. Growing up here, it was really only the muratti that us youngsters could aspire to due to limited opportunities on the island, however, now with the bulls and a couple more opportunities such as Parishes of Jersey have come into action, I feel, especially for me, it gives extra motivation to keep playing and performing as best I can to break through into these sides and compete at the highest level I possibly can on the island. Even watching my good mates Sol (Solomon) and James (Carr) performing well for the bulls gives me a buzz and the drive to hopefully join them soon.
Is the league more or less competitive?
The league is a lot more competitive this year. Although I only broke into the first team towards the end of last year, I watched a lot of St Peter’s games, and in comparison to last season I feel this year anyone can beat anyone which is very different to last year as when St Pauls and Peters played certain teams, it was a question of how much they would win by.
What have your experiences been like so far this season?
This year I’ve played a lot of football. Last weekend I had 3 games in 3 days playing for St Peter, school and Jersey u18s, and this has been a regular occurance. I feel i’ve been playing the best I ever have putting in good performances for all four teams I play for, however the fact I have been playing so much has caused issues such as lack of enjoyment on some days and little injuries here and there, which I feel is very common for anyone playing so much football week in week out. But, on the whole it’s been very good, I’ve been playing well at a senior level at the age of 17 as well as watching Jersey Bulls do ever so well in the start of their journey.
What would you suggest we do to improve football on the island?
I feel the local leagues will progress year on year with more youngsters coming through to fill holes that have been made by the bulls. So by making sure players from around the ages of 15-18 stick to enjoying and playing football I feel will help this massively.
I can remember witnessing around 7 players leave from the transition of u16 to u18s in my year due to them feeling it was too big a jump, so I feel more clubs should offer support and advertisement for those players, to keep them in the game, whether it be at a different club or they set up a B team.