Accrington Stanley to Launch New Academy Development Squad in 2020

Accrington Stanley Community Trust are delighted to announce a new partnership with the Accrington Stanley Academy which has been designed to maximise the potential of local, aspiring footballers.

The brand new ‘Accrington Stanley Academy Development Squad’ will be introduced from September 2020 at our brand new £2m Sports Hub Facility, with local 16 and 17 year olds able to apply for the 2 year football education programme that will be aligned with the Accrington Stanley Youth Team.

The Community Trust have been successfully running Sport Education courses since 2011, providing students the opportunity to study a full time college programme in the unique setting of a professional football club. In addition to the Education, the students take part in daily training sessions and play in the EFL Trust Community Education Football Alliance.

Mark Whalley, Head of Education at the Community Trust, explained the thoughts behind the introduction of this squad:

“The Academy Development Squad will add an extra dimension to the existing programme, with the aim of replicating a professional footballing environment, whilst still accessing a high quality education programme that is equivalent to A-levels”.

He went on to add “The link we have created with the Academy is crucial to the success of this programme. We are looking to provide players a pathway who may have been released from other academies, or who simply just haven’t been identified yet and may have slipped through the net.”

The players selected for the Academy Development Squad will be closely monitored by the Academy as the practical element of the programme will be overseen by full and part-time members of the Youth Team set up within the club. The training programmes and systems of play will replicate those that the youth team apply, allowing a smooth transition should a player be selected to represent the youth team.

Dave Fitzgerald, who is lead coach for the Youth Team gave us his thoughts on the new squad:

“Our youth team training schedule is quite full on, and with players being called up to the first team and Under 23’s recently, we are looking at utilising members of the Academy Development Squad to make the step up and show us what they have to offer. We have good links with semi-professional clubs and can provide additional development opportunities to enhance their footballing CV.”

Head of Academy recruitment, Ash Hoskin is excited by the new venture, and believes the squad will be useful to him and his role within the club:

“With the recent success of academy graduates gaining professional contracts, we have high standards in terms of the players we look to bring in. We don’t have the spending budget like many clubs in the football league, so the club relies on producing players to either play for the first team, or to sell on and generate income. With this in mind, we want to look at as many potential players as we can, and this programme is going to allow us to keep a close eye on the talent in the local area.”

Former Professional Footballer, and ex-Accrington Stanley player Ash went on to add:

“My advice to players is always the same, regardless of ability; keep working hard and if an opportunity presents itself, do your best to grab it with both hands. This programme will give players the platform they require to take their game to the next level”

If you are currently in Year 11 or 12 and would like to apply for the Academy Development Squad, please complete the form below. Once we have received the form, a member of our staff will get in contact to arrange an interview. Numbers for the Academy Development squad will be capped at 18, so we urge anyone who is interested to apply as soon as possible.

Important Dates:

Open Evening- Wednesday 12th February, 6-7pm at the Wham Stadium, Livingstone Road, BB5 5BX

Trial Date- Monday 17th February, 12:30-2:00pm, Stanley Sports Hub, Thorneyholme Road, BB5 6BD.