Football-mad teenagers will be able to get top training tips from Premier League coaches while continuing with their classroom studies, thanks to a new academy launched by Northampton College.
Headed by former Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Manchester City star Eddie McGoldrick, the academy will bridge the gap between grassroots football and top-level youth teams – giving talented youngsters in Northamptonshire the opportunity to get a full education while pursuing their dream of becoming professional players.
The partnership will see Northampton College team up with Premier League side Crystal Palace, with the CPFC Foundation Academy playing in the national football youth league against clubs including Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham United and Liverpool.
Youngsters who catch the eye over the season will have the chance to impress coaches at the Eagles’ main academy, with the ultimate aim of finding the next home-grown superstar.
Former Republic of Ireland international Mr McGoldrick, who started his professional career with Northampton Town, said: “We will provide the necessary training required to help students progress to a higher standard of football, education and employment. We are confident we can get them to the point where they are paid to play football and create a pathway to match their ability and aspirations both on and off the pitch.
“Players will train daily for two hours and play in a competitive FA-structured league. Students will have the option to complete a Btec extended diploma in sport level 2 and 3, A levels or a range of apprenticeship courses. The academic side of things is hugely important and the partnership with Northampton College gives us a huge range of options for students.”
The academy has previously run in Northampton, with youngsters progressing on to scholarship schemes in America and trials with clubs including Leicester City, Sheffield United, Notts County and Peterborough.
The switch to Northampton College will allow the academy to double in size, taking up to 80 students and fielding up to four different teams. Plans are also in place to introduce a girls’ team in September 2018.
Open trials will take place at Northampton College in the February half term.