Eastern Junior Alliance Profile
The Eastern Junior Alliance (or EJA as it’s abbreviated too) is the South East Of England’s leading youth development football league, established in 1987 at just Under 18 level it has now progressed to age levels U13 to U18, with 6 age levels in total now, and great success at each level.
The EJA is the stepping stone between the academy levels of the professional ranks and the regular youth level in all counties.
Spread over 10 counties in the South of England with approximately 70 clubs and 175 teams, the EJA gives youth players the chance to progress their game to a better level on and off the pitch: With higher standards of coaching, behaviour and conduct, by teaching youth players what to expect, and what will be expected of them in their future football careers.
Generally the EJA is seen as the higher standard youth league, only clubs of step 5 and above qualify to compete in this league.
Statistics show that those sides who use the EJA league in their own development plan progress better and many players eventually progress into first team squads and quite often a lot higher too.
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Several players in the EJA have been selected for England Schools under 18's, including Greg Dalley of Collier Row who was capped five times.
Dominic Ludden signed initially for Leyton Orient before transferring to Watford for £850,000 in season 1995 and was also on the fringes of the England under 21's squad.
Neil Harris, formerly of both Great Wakering Rovers and Maldon Town, is now a regular goalscorer for Millwall, whilst Ian Renshaw, from the all conquering Basildon United team, was signed by Stockport County.
Another ex-EJA player to make the grade was Martin Grainger who is the first from the league to play in the Premiership with Birmingham City and played over 200 games for them. Martin retired from football on January 1, 2005, having spent 13 years as a player. His goal-scoring appearance against Manchester United, on April 10, 2004, proved to be his final professional fixture.
Other success stories are Jerome Sobers and Ben Patten who were signed from Ford United by Ipswich Town in season 2003/2004.
In addition, the number of former players who regularly feature in senior non-league sides but most notable is perhaps another ex-Basildon United player, Ashley Harrison who kept a clean sheet in goal when Canvey Island lifted the F.A. Trophy at Villa Park in May 2001. He was again in the squad for The F.A. Trophy final in 2003, again at Villa Park, when Canvey Island were second best but had the consolation of winning promotion to The Conference. So on the same weekend that Neil Harris captained Millwall in the F.A. Cup Final, we had another ex-EJA player in another major F.A. final at Villa Park, a feat unlikely to be repeated.
It is to be hoped that the EJA can go on and continue in providing quality players who will not only achieve their own personal ideals but who can also further enhance the senior teams to which they are allied and who will, furthermore, add to the growing reputation of the EJA for the excellent, competitive football on offer.
League Contact Details
Treasurer: RICHARD COLEMAN Mobile: 07880 558217
Fixtures Secretary: Peter Cline Mobile: 07823 550791
Referee Secretary: Derek Hornsey Mobile:
Disciplinary Secretary: CHRIS MANLEY Mobile: 07968 429 843
Disciplinary Secretary U15: ROBIN OGILVIE Mobile: 07767 643637
Registratin Secretary U15/U16: Brenda Nicholls Mobile: 07824 441437
Registration Secretary U17/U18: Steve Bennett Mobile: 07779 626812
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