New NPL Football Academy members Ossett Albion can’t wait to take up their place in the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League’s ground-breaking educational initiative combining study and sport.
The Unicorns are looking forward to their youngsters at Dimple Wells entering the NPLFA’s ranks next season after becoming the 13th EVO-STIK NPL club to sign on in December and the second to agree membership before Christmas.
Founded at five pilot clubs in September 2014 to provide career pathways into the football industry and unique in English football, the NPLFA is going from strength to strength. Having already expanded to 11 clubs this season fielding teams in two divisions of the NPL Youth League, the NPLFA is now set to grow to 13 clubs and 18 teams in September after Carlton Town announced they were joining only a week before Albion’s entry was agreed.
The Millers are delighted to sign up for the NPLFA which was launched with the backing of the Football Association and last year entered into a strategic partnership with Global Premier Soccer, the world’s leading provider of sports scholarships in the United States.
Millers manager Richard Tracey is looking forward to tapping into the pool of talent that will be created for his first team squad with the club’s youngsters developing under the NPLFA’s umbrella at the Bill Stokeld Stadium next season.
He said: “It has been hard to miss how much the NPL Football Academy has grown and how much it has benefitted the first team managers at those clubs and I am excited we are now part of the same programme. There are a lot of talented young footballers in this area and I am looking forward to having a pool of players who will be receiving quality coaching day in day out at the football club.”
Head of youth development Simon Turfrey is equally excited about the benefits NPLFA membership will bring to the EVO-STIK NPL First Division North club.
He added: “We as a club are very excited at joining the NPL Football Academy and aiding to the students education of sport and in particular football. We feel as a club that it is very important for young footballers to have the best education they can, not only in football coaching but all the other aspects that are part and parcel of a sports person’s life, the course that the NPLFA offer will give this to any student.”
An NPLFA spokesmen said: “We are thrilled that Ossett Albion have chosen ourselves to lead and manage their Education and Football Academy from September. After expanding into Nottingham recently at Carlton Town, the expansion continues and we are excited to work and build links in Yorkshire.”
Since its inception in 2014, the NPLFA has enrolled more than 250 students and continues to grow each year. Players aged 16-18 study on two year courses for Level 3 Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualifications while competing in the academy’s own FA sanctioned competition, as well as in national competitions like the FA Youth Cup while being trained on a daily basis by UEFA qualified coaches.
Recruitment is now underway to fill the 22 places available at Ossett Albion with the first trial date taking place between 7 and 8pm on Friday 13 January. Further trials on the club’s 3G pitch are expected to be confirmed for February, Easter and May 2017.