Gladiators seek full-time players to join new academy

Youngsters from the Matlock Town Academy will play league games at the Autoworld Arena as well as the chance to feature in the FA Youth Cup.
Youngsters from the Matlock Town Academy will play league games at the Autoworld Arena as well as the chance to feature in the FA Youth Cup.

Matlock Town are searching for youngsters who want to play football full-time as part of the new Northern Premier League Football Academy.

The initiative will see clubs throughout the league run academy set-ups which will see players aged 16-18 study for a BTEC in sport that enables them to progress onto higher education or take a pathway into employment in the sporting world such as a PE teacher, personal trainer, physiotherapist, coach or similar.

As well as this they will train full-time with a UEFA-qualified coach and play for Matlock Town at non-league stadiums in the new NPL Football Academy League and FA Youth Cup.

Two events are to be held in the coming weeks where interested players can see for themselves what is on offer.

An information evening will take place on Thursday, April 2 at the Autoworld Arena at 7pm, where details of the two-year programme will be on show.

A football session will then be held on Friday, April 10 for players to show off their attributes in a playing sense.

Matlock Town football development manager Steve Heath said: “We are delighted to announce this exciting new project working with the NPL Football Academy programme.

“The new Matlock Town FC academy is a fantastic opportunity for players to progress and develop a career in sport and further progress our local footballers.

“We encourage players from all local teams aged 16 to 18 years plus their family and friends to attend our Information evening.”

The NPL Youth Academy League began this season with five teams taking part but those numbers are expected to triple in time for the next campaign.

Upon the launch of the initiative last summer, Evo-Stik NPL chairman Mark Harris said: “There are many academies and numerous youth leagues but the NPL Football Academy is the first to combine both.

“The NPL Football Academy creates a pool of player talent for clubs to draw upon and benefit from directly as well as offering young people a fantastic path into the sporting industry through the qualifications and the real experience our clubs will be delivering.”

See www.nplfa.co.uk for more information on the academy league.