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EMMNA's Year of Youth: Pioneering Opportunities for Younger Players

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

The England Men's & Mixed Netball Association (EMMNA) is proud to reflect on a year providing unprecedented opportunities for younger players in men's and mixed netball. With a clear focus on creating pathways and fostering talent, EMMNA has launched a number of successful initiatives and events.

Power of Pathways

The landscape of men's and mixed netball is being transformed. "Our journey this year has been truly exceptional. We have witnessed a tremendous increase in opportunities for young players, something that was previously lacking in our sport." Ryan Allan EMMNA President.

At the EMMNA 2023 UK National Championships, we witnessed a significant increase in the number of young players competing. Exceptional talent emerged from various teams across the UK, earning these players an invitation to trial for the England U25 Trailblazer programme. Among these rising stars, London Giants 14-year-old Aiden McHenry stood out. McHenry's remarkable performance earned him the title of Young Player of the Tournament, and he has recently been selected to represent England at the International Nations Cup in Singapore this December.

This achievement follows in the footsteps of previous Young Player of the Tournament winners, Ross McCartney Oliphant, of Highland Fever (2022) and James Firminger, of Manchester Spartans (2021), both of whom have gone on to represent England internationally with the Thorns, England's men's netball team. As we witness the success of these talented individuals, it's clear that the future of men's and mixed netball shines brightly.

Looking forward to 2024, we are excited to explore the possibility of including a dedicated youth competition at EMNNA's 2024 UK National Championships.

Trailblazing to Success

Central to this growth has been EMMNA's England U25 Trailblazer programme, which has gone from strength to strength. The programme now boasts a large squad of exceptionally talented young athletes who are poised to make their mark on the international stage.

In December, these Trailblazers will embark on a historic journey to Singapore to compete in the 2023 International Nations Cup. They will go head-to-head with opponents: Australia U23, New Zealand U23, Singapore Open Men's, Hong Kong Open Men's, and Malaysia Open Men's.

"As we prepare to send this exciting young team to compete on the global stage, it's worth reflecting on how not long ago, this was just a dream for many. This opportunity underscores the incredible progress we've made in the growth of our sport and the opportunities now within reach for our talented athletes" Allan remarked.

Competitive Opportunities for Youth

EMMNA's crowning achievement this year has been the establishment of pathways for young players eager to participate and make their mark in men's and mixed netball. The introduction of age-specific tournaments, including the inaugural EMMNA Youth Cup for schools, featuring age groups U16, U14, and U12, has been instrumental in providing a platform for young talent and increasing participation in netball.

Allan elaborates, "While we are in the early stages of developing pathways, we are committed to working tirelessly to continue creating opportunities and filling the void that once existed for boys to play netball once they reach the age of 11 or start high school. Our commitment to creating opportunities for younger players has culminated in an exceptional year. We've not only identified, nurtured, and celebrated talent but also laid the groundwork for a promising future for men's and mixed netball."

If you are interested in finding out more about our boys/mixed netball pathways for 11-18 year olds, please complete THIS FORM and we will be in touch

A Future Full of Promise

Looking ahead, EMMNA is proud to be partnering with BUCS Netball Advisory on 11th November to hold the first-ever University Men's Netball Cup, bringing together university men's netball teams from across the country. This fantastic initiative marks the beginning of what we hope will be a long-term partnership with BUCS, aiming to create a sustainable framework for men's netball within higher education.

"2023 has been an incredible year for EMMNA establishing new partnerships, especially with the launch of the University Men's Netball Cup. This is just the start of our collaboration with BUCS, and we're excited about the possibilities it opens up for male netballers in higher education," says Allan.

Entries are now open for the 2023 University Men's Cup. To enter your university team please complete THIS FORM.

A Journey Just Beginning

"We're at a pivotal juncture in EMMNA's journey, and we're incredibly proud of our achievements so far. This is just the beginning. If you'd like to join us in shaping this thrilling chapter of EMMNA, driving our youth strategy, and creating pathways for young players, please get in touch." Ryan Allan, EMMNA President

If you would like to find out more information on opportunities for young male/mixed players to participate in netball, or are interested in volunteering please contact: info@englandmmna,com

EMMNA Clubs with a youth programme:

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