Fleetwood Town are taking inspiration from one of the surprise packages of Euro 16 by adding an Icelandic blueprint to their academy ethos.
Iceland reached the quarter-finals after eliminating England, and Fleetwood have been inspired by the youth system at one of the Arctic nation’s top clubs, Stjarnan.
Town’s recently appointed academy coaches Joey Newson and Mason McClelland travelled to Iceland yesterday to spend a week with ‘partner club’ Stjarnan, strengthening the links between both clubs, delivering coaching sessions at a summer camp and looking more deeply into the Reykjavik club’s community-based academy approach.
Town technical director and former Iceland full-back Gretar Steinsson says the club can learn plenty from Stjarnan’s 900-strong academy.
He said: “The purpose of the visit is to share Stjarnan’s fantastic youth development programme, which has seen them produce international footballers who starred against England last Monday.
“What happened in that game was no surprise to me. The club has done a fantastic job producing youn players.
“We see a lot of similarities with Fleetwood Town. They work in a small community and have recruited, developed and promoted young talent with great success.
“With our new category three Academy status, we have been working hard for some time on a similar strategy.
“We want to recruit predominantly players sourced from the Fylde coast and nearby. We want to create the same ethos – a real community feel to the club.
“The development of Stjarnan didn’t happen overnight. It takes years of development to build the academy from the ground up, but their model has produced an incredible number of professionals and is something we want to emulate here at Fleetwood.
“We pride ourselves on doing things differently, and working in partnership with Stjarnan we believe we can learn and develop together.”
The trip follows a successful visit to Fleetwood by Stjarnan bosses in April. And further exchange visits are planned involving players as well as coaches.