Academy coaches can help Fleetwood Town stars of tomorrow after sharing same journey
Experience is key in the youth set-up at Fleetwood Town, according to the head of academy Jack Higgins.
Higgins himself went through an academy system before becoming a professional player but had previously been released at 16 as many aspiring footballers are.
He feels the collective experience on offer at Poolfoot Farm increases the quality of coaching and the service they provide for players.
That is not just in improving them as footballers but also looking after them off the pitch, even if that means finding new clubs.
Higgins said: “That’s the strength of us as an academy – we have 22 full-time staff now.
“A lot of those staff went through the journey themselves, either up to scholarship age or went and played professional football.
“On last count, I think we had over 2,500 league games between our coaches and over 130 years of coaching experience within the academy.
“When you look at the journey of Josh Feeney (now at Aston Villa) from grassroots at U12s to England captain at U16s, that is because we have coaches who understand.
“Similarly, if a boy is released at U16s, we’ve been through it when we were younger.
“We understand the emotion and the feeling that comes with that.
“It’s never an easy conversation and we’d like to think we approach them with the sensitivity and empathy the individual deserves. We do it in the right way, as best as we can.
“Hopefully, there has been a plan in place for whichever individual has not made it and we give them as much support as we can either on to a different football club or into a different career.”
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