Words: Terry Robinson; Picture: Chorley FC
THE Chorley FC Player Pathway explained – How do we get more local youngsters into the first team squad?
Our Youth Development section has been based around junior teams from under-13s to under-18s with volunteer coaches and other volunteer staff including administrators and a welfare officer.
Unfortunately, one of the problems we faced was the lack of a Chorley FC-centric mentality which led to young players trialling with other clubs or deciding to join BTEC courses run by other clubs.
Most supporters love seeing youngsters coming through the youth system at their football club and reaching the first team. We’re no different at Victory Park, so we say LET’S DO IT!
What are we doing as a Club?
This is where the Player Pathway comes in. It will begin at under-14 level and progress through to under-16s, with teams continuing to compete in the Junior Premier League. Entry to the Chorley FC Education Programme, in partnership with LLS Online and Thornleigh College, follows on from the under-16 season, with matches played in the National League under-19 Alliance.
For those under-16s wishing to choose an education path other than our own after GCSEs, playing for the Magpies will still be an option. Alongside the players who join our education programme, selected players will make up an u17/18 squad entered in either the North West Youth Alliance or the Junior Premier League.
The plan is for outstanding players in the system to train with the first team to aid their development, with the aim to produce players good enough to stick at first team level. This will give them the chance to gain experience and develop as footballers, as well as creating a larger pool of players for the management team to pick from.
From this coming season, we’ll also be offering full time training within these groups to academy players from the professional game that may not be offered new deals by their current clubs.
All coaches involved with each age group are FA-qualified, with lead coaches preferably operating with at least a UEFA B Licence. All our coaches will be encouraged and assisted to complete higher qualifications.
Once enrolled on the BTEC course a full-time training programme is in operation for players, headed by UEFA Pro Licence coach Andy Preece, with recruitment continuing for other qualified coaches to join the programme.
The Youth section needs to be self-funded and traditionally players contribute monthly fees to assist in the expenditure. The cost of operating the youth development setup at Chorley FC is significant and along with player fees, any sponsorship would be a great help.
We have faced problems with training facilities. Using the Victory Park pitch has long-term drawbacks, so we’re actively searching for a training base in the local area. We see this as an integral part of our strategy going forward; we need a designated base for the first team right down to under-14s.
We believe the outlook is very bright. As a club we are pulling out all the stops to ensure our Player Pathway is a success and that more youngsters like Taylor Brickell, Josh Agbozo, Declan Baldwin & Malakai get the opportunity to step up, train and play first team football for the Magpies.
*We still have availability on the BTEC course this September for students with the required footballing ability. We are also introducing a third year to the course with an education syllabus, so any school leavers plus students aged 17 or 18 can sign up. Any students interested in our course should contact Andy Preece on 07931 704398 or firstname.lastname@example.org.