Lissimore on England Colleges and first team

Lissmore and Russ Penn reflect on first team progress and ECFA opportunities…

Kai Lissimore being presented with U23s Coaches Player of the Year award [Pic (c) KHFC]

Harriers have been excited to see the progression of Academy players in recent months, with players impressing for the first team during pre-season, writes Dan Harper.

Jack Tolley has netted in all three friendlies so far, with fellow Academy players Luke Bastable, Alex Arrowsmith, James Dutton and Kai Lissimore also among those to be picking up minutes.

The latter has also made a significant achievement by reaching the England Colleges (ECFA) Men’s National Team. Lissimore is one of three players that have been called up by the ECFA within the last three seasons after Jaiden White in 2018/19 and Luke Henworth in 2019/20 marking a huge achievement both on a personal level and for the Harriers Academy as a whole.

Kai has had to progress through two sets of trials to reach the final ECFA squad of 22 players and play in a fixture against a team of Chelsea U17’s.
Discussing the experience of being successful in reaching the final 22, Lissimore embraced the opportunity of playing for his country and thanked Harriers Academy for helping him regain his confidence and having the opportunity to mix with the first team.

“It’s obviously a great experience, representing your country at any level is an honour and a brilliant achievement, especially making it through [with] such a variety of players at the first trial, even making it through to the second trial was an achievement in itself”, stated Lissimore.

“I left Wolves at the age of 16, I had a few ups and downs and felt my confidence was knocked a bit, coming to Kidderminster has completely restored that, they’ve given me opportunities which I don’t think I would get anywhere else”.

Lissimore, who was awarded U23s Coaches Player of the Season for 2020/21 season, has joined several academy players in mixing with the first team squad during this pre-season. The midfielder delved into how the experience is allowing him, as a player, to develop and get a feel for what life is like as a professional.

“He’s progressed very well, he’s a young boy still and he’s got lots of development in him…” Russ Penn

“Coming up and training with the first team is a massive opportunity in itself, the players that I’m playing with are all professionals,” Lissimore continued.

“You get into an environment where it’s their job, they will do anything that makes sure they do the best, it can only improve you.

“It’s just a great honour to be around them and to be given that opportunity”.

First Team manager, Russ Penn was full of praise for Lissimore regarding his experience with the ECFA National Team and how mixing with experienced professionals will only make Kai grow as a player.

“He’s progressed very well, he’s a young boy still and he’s got lots of development in him, this will only do him good”, said Penn.

“He’s training and mixing with the likes of Lewis Montrose and Mark Carrington, as a player he is only going to develop more”.

Penn also spoke about how this was an achievement for the club with three players in three seasons being called up to the ECFA National Team, and how the Academy system is having a flourishing impact regarding the relationship with the First Team.

“I left Wolves at the age of 16, I had a few ups and downs and felt my confidence was knocked a bit, coming to Kidderminster has completely restored that…” Kai Lissimore

“To have an affiliation with an English level is a great achievement and I think is great for all parts of the club; The Academy, Education and our First Team but more so Kidderminster Harriers in general.

“We talked at the end of last season, and we said we have got to start pushing young boys through to mix with the first team and get minutes in pre-season.

“We train alongside the U23s as well, and have a great relationship with them now, something that can only get stronger”.

It’s not too late to register for Academy trials for the upcoming 2021/22 season, you can do so here.

If you would like to find out more about our Post 16 and U23s Football and Education programmes, please visit or email for more information.

To find out more about life at Harriers Academy, learn about our football and education programmes and much more, follow us across social media @HarriersAcademy. We’re on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Click play on the video below to see more from Penn and Lissimore:

This article is about: Academy


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