The NPLFA’s top stars are to represent the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League in a series of exhibition games against Accrington Stanley, Oldham Athletic and Port Vale next month.
The NPLFA announced on Thursday that its coaches and staff were choosing 27 players from across the league wide academy to play in matches at Mossley, Radlcliffe and a final fixture against Port Vale at venue and date to be confirmed.
After the squad is named later this month the players will gather for an in-house training game at Holmes Chapel on Friday 29 April before the NPLFA’s first game against Oldham Athletic at Stainton Park on Wednesday 4 May, kick-off 7pm.
Accrington Stanley are the next up at Seel Park on Thursday 19 May in another 7pm kick off before the NPLFA’s final outing against Port Vale.
An NPLFA spokesman said: “The games are an opportunity for the students that have been picked to showcase their talents against professional scholars. More details on each game will be announced in due course.”
The exhibition series was announced as the NPLFA’s coaches and tutors used Easter trials to start preparing for its expansion to 11 clubs and an intake of well over 200 students in September following its successful launch in 2014 at five pilot clubs.
Since then, the Evo-Stik NPL has been widely hailed for becoming the first league in English football to operate a youth league and academy combining football with further education.
Launched with the backing of the Football Association to provide career pathways into the football industry, the NPLFA’s 16 to 18-year-old students study on two year courses for Level 3 Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualifications while training on a daily basis with UEFA qualified coaches and competing in the NPL Youth League and the FA Youth Cup.