From the humble beginning of just a handful of enthusiastic juniors in 2005, some 500+ youths aged between 7-16 years of age now play cricket under the umbrella of Cricket Switzerland's Youth Development scheme.
The success of the youth cricket movement is spreading fast with numbers growing year by year.
Youth cricket in Switzerland has three main centres – Zurich, Geneva, Basel – but all the regions team up to form Swiss sides to compete in international tournaments at Under 11, 13, 15 and 17 levels - most recently in Germany, Austria and Denmark.
The latest additions of clubs that have formed in Cossonay, Gingins and Zug show the pace at which this sport is spreading.
Zuoz, or rather the international boarding school Lyceum Alpinum that has a cricketing tradition stretching back 80 years, holds its own international youth tournament to allow Switzerland to play host every year.
The sport has already reached out into several schools and proved a big hit with pupils – both boys and girls. This has allowed the steady integration of local youngsters into a sport unfamiliar in Switzerland. It is encouraging that there are now several international schools that have started cricket programmes and once these schools begin to play each other on a formal basis we will see another large increase in the number of young cricket players in Switzerland.
One of the most recent developments was the inauguration of national junior leagues. These are run at three different levels: Under 11s, Under 13s and Under 15s.
For their part, Swiss parents are happy to see their sons and daughters indulging in a sport that lacks the hostile edge of football and ice hockey. In addition, their children mix with others from different ethnic backgrounds and learn better English language skills in the process.
Expatriate parents are also delighted to find a thriving youth cricket scene in Switzerland that helps smooth the family transition from their home countries by supplying a familiar outlet for their children.
The spread of the game has been assisted by these enthusiastic parents coming forward to participate in ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) coaching courses. To date over 35 qualified coaches are turning up week for week to encourage and hone the skills of future Swiss cricketers with more coaching programmes planned.
The rapid strides being made in Swiss youth cricket has not gone unnoticed by the game’s governing bodies – the European Cricket Council (ECC) and the International Cricket Council (ICC). Three European awards have already been received by the country’s enthusiastic organisers since 2004.
Each season the ECC invites Switzerland’s most promising youngsters to its annual Centre of Excellence – most recently held in La Manga, Spain. Here, budding Bradmans and Flintoffs receive professional coaching and enjoy first rate facilities for a full week.
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|National youth coaches 2014|
|U11/U12||Chris Clayton / James Harper|
|U13||Chris Clayton / John Millar|
|U15||Yeti Sinh / Patrick Henderson|
|U17||David Dooley / Vinod Unikkadath|