The club started in 1998 when the then Folkestone and District Primary League needed a last-minute replacement team for a withdrawal. The name of that team was Stripes FC. Playing in black and blue stripes the initial team became two with the second called ‘Stars’. The teams continued their presence in the league until it eventually folded.
When they progressed into the East Kent Youth League in 2000, the teams adopted the joint name of Stars and Stripes FC. For the next seven seasons, the club had two to three teams in the East Kent Youth League.
In 2007, Stars and Stripes FC was on the verge of folding with only an Under 18 senior side left playing under the club banner. Simon Johnson returned to the club as Chairman having spent time in various youth coaching roles with Dover Athletic.
Simon looked to reinvent football in the local area by introducing mini soccer – a brand new concept to the town. The Rotary Club of Hythe was approached and with assistance from President Collen Hill received a grant of £500 to purchase the equipment necessary.
In June 2007, sessions were advertised around the local schools aimed at Under 8s and Under 9s to form teams for the coming season. Such was the popularity of the summer sessions that three separate teams were formed – an Under 8s, Under 9s and Under 10s.
Club growth takes town by surprise
Over the next three years Stars and Stripes continued to recruit players and parents into the club. The rate of growth and success caught everyone by surprise. The club established a development plan with the assistance of the Kent County FA with the intention to see every mini soccer team progress to 11-a-side and start an Under 8s team each season to ensure the long-term survival of the club.
In 2011-2012, the club doubled in size, starting seven new teams. This included a brand new Under 7s team in the Ashford and District Youth Friendly League, an Under 18s in collaboration with Hythe Town FC in the Kent Youth League, and a first girls team at Under 12/13 age group. The provision and delivery of quality youth football in Hythe was recognised by the Kent County Football Association in 2012. Hythe Stars and Stripes were named as Kent Regional FA Charter Standard Development Club of the Year 2011. The club was recognised for its rate of growth in four years, attaining the Charter Standard status and establishing links within the community, notably with Hythe Town FC.
Family and community at our heart
Ever since the club was first established it has always tried to promote a family social side. Events such as barbecues, world cup tournaments, Christmas parties, and of course our end of season presentations have always been a popular part of the club’s calendar. Our club teams also organise events for themselves.
With over 200 young people now part of the football club, we have always taken our responsibility and status within the community seriously. The club and its members have actively sought to support and promote local events. The club had a central role in the project to provide a new pavilion at South Road Recreation Ground and improve the pitches.
New name, same club
In 2017, the club members voted to change the name of the Club to Hythe Town Youth. This meant a formal affiliation with Hythe Town FC, so our teams from Under 13s can play in the Kent League, something they were not given the option to do before. The Club Committee are keen for Hythe Town Youth to become a strong club within the Kent League. Nothing about the club will change with the name – the ethos and its history will remain.