Academy partnership is a major boost for Wroxham
Ryman League new boys Wroxham have unveiled ambitious plans to launch a youth training scheme that could see the Yachtsmen's best junior talent one day competing against Football League and Conference clubs.
Wroxham's new partnership with the Open Academy in Norwich will allow aspiring footballers to study towards a recognised Btec sport development qualification, alongside playing for the club.
The project, to be overseen by the UK's largest coaching company for children, Premier Sport, could lead to an apprenticeship with manager David Batch's Ridgeons League Premier Division champions alongside further education opportunities or work-based apprenticeships with Premier Sport.
Students on the course will take part in a football training programme that includes playing in the British Colleges' Sports League as well as being eligible to play for Wroxham at Ryman or Anglian Combination level.
With the games at Wroxham's Trafford Park ground, the club's longer term aim is to facilitate a move from the British Colleges' Sports League into the Football Conference Alliance, where players on the programme will compete against their peers from the likes of Barnet, Luton Town and Lincoln City.
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Wroxham's football development director, Steve Eastaugh, believes the innovative tie-up is a major boost for the Yachtsmen's bid to build on the club's recent promotion success.
'This programme provides a wonderful opportunity for young players to continue into higher education while playing football,' he said. 'As a club, this is a huge stride towards us achieving a sustainable player development model and will be pivotal in the recruitment of young footballers.
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'We would like to thank the team at Open Academy for establishing this programme and we look forward to a very successful partnership.'
Prospective students will have access to excellent facilities at the Open Academy, including the use of a dedicated learning area, while at Wroxham they will focus on specific football-related aspects such as physiotherapy, coaching, match analysis and playing.
'We are very excited about this new course,' said Jon Platten, principal of the Open Academy.
'It offers practical training and has academic substance.
'Essentially, Premier Sport will be doing what they do best – coaching footballers to a first-class standard.
'We will be doing what we do best – delivering a first-rate Btec sports qualification.
'This combination will provide an exciting and engaging experience for students. We eagerly await the arrival of our first students in September.'
• To apply for a place on the programme, players will need to attend a football trial at Wroxham's Trafford Park ground on Sunday, July 15, and also expect to achieve five GCSEs (A* to C grade) later this summer. Application forms are available from www.oasix.org.uk or contact Clare Nugent on 01603 481640.