December 19, 2000 10:48: CHARLTONS senior academy youth coach Carl Laraman has enjoyed a meteoric rise since he joined the club as a part-time coach in 1996.

Within 18 months, he went from taking evening training sessions two nights a week at the training ground, to being responsible for the development of the under-17s, one of the clubs most highly-rated groups.

It did happen very quickly for me, admitted 39-year-old Laraman, whose father Peter played twice for Charlton in the late 1950s.

To suddenly take over a group containing three young internationals was quite a big step, as well as an honour.

There is always a bit of pressure when youre responsible for bringing on quality players, but Im happy with how my team is developing and I think the boys are responding well.

The former Dover Athletic director of football has been in charge of Charltons U17 side since the beginning of the season.

Among his illustrious squad are defender Osei Sankofa, an England U15 international, as well as industrious midfielder Stacy Long. And midfielder Neil McCafferty has played for the Republic of Ireland U16 team.

Of the three, only McCafferty is a full-time player, and Laraman is looking forward to the opportunity to nurture his England duo if the inevitable happens and Long and Sankofa are invited to join the clubs academy next season.

It will be great for me to be able to coach Stacy and Osei on a regular basis, he said. At the moment they only come in twice a week, which just isnt really enough.

It is obviously a good thing to have internationals in the team but there are a lot of other players in the group who are showing a lot of promise. Although results havent been the best this season, it seems like a week doesnt go by without one of them showing a marked


Indeed, results have not been outstanding for the team this season, but apart from McCafferty, striker Jamie Martin and right-back Jermaine St Luce, the team is made up of schoolboy players some of whom are playing a full two years below their natural age group.

On the few occasions that we have played against teams close to us in age, such as Birmingham who we beat 2-0, results have been good, said Laraman.

But recently, even when we play against teams older and stronger than us, we are starting to believe in ourselves more and very rarely are we outplayed.