Fleetwood Town’s chief execuitve Steve Curwood says grassroots football on the Fylde coast will benefit from the club’s academy Category Three status.
Town’s £8.5m Poolfoot Farm training complex has met all of the requirements needed for a Category Three academy at a recent grading inspection by the Premier League and so the club can now provide elite level coaching operations from age eight upwards ahead of the start of the new 2016/17 League One campaign in August.
The English Football League and the Premier League visited the club recently and are convinced that Fleetwood has the right infrastructure in place to be a successful academy. The English Football League and the Premier League visited the club recently and are convinced that Fleetwood has the right infrastructure in place to be a successful academy.
And Curwood believes the new status will benefit the Fylde coast.
He said: “To have achieved Category Three status in such a short space of time is remarkable.
“I must thank our head of coaching Jed Starkey for the fantastic amount of work that has gone into the application and process.
“Also, the work of academy director Stuart Murdoch and his staff for getting us this far has not gone unnoticed, it is excellent news for Fleetwood Town Football Club.
“We feel that we have the makings of a youth academy which will have a very positive impact on the Fylde Coast grassroots system which in turn will make Fleetwood Town a stronger football club.
“In my opinion, bringing local players through an academy to break into the first team is second only to winning promotions in football fans’ eyes.
“We will work hard to achieve this.
“Parents spend a lot of time at academies and to have a superb environment for them whilst they are on site with their children also enhances quality of life for those involved.
“As well as dedicated professional staff, with a true coaching philosophy, and detailed programme of development, the above aspects are massive if we are to succeed.’’
A number of full‐time jobs have been created to enable the new status and the club have identified the majority of the UEFA B coaches required to work with all age levels.
Since the introduction of the EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan), Fleetwood have become the first club to launch a full elite programme for U9s to U21s from a Category Four base.
The club has been successfully running open trials this summer for all different age groups.
Jed Starkey Head of coaching said ‘’From the outset of the project to establish a Category 3 Academy ready for August and the 2016‐17 season, I was inspired by the clubs vision and drive to achieve success.
“The challenge was incredible but the success so far has been remarkable and a credit to the whole club but more so the Academy staff who all played a part along the journey.
“I am looking forwards to the next 12 months where we will I’m sure encounter a range of challenging, frustrating and exhilarating moments which all comes along in the package of Youth Development football.
“I must also thank the local grassroots teams and the parents of the players we have worked with over the past few weeks for their patience and support.
“We firmly believe that as a club we will drive the passion to succeed even further with the aim to develop players for the club, support the local community and improve grassroots football generally in the area.”