The whole idea of the Academy is to give EVERY footballer/learner the opportunity to play and train to develop as a player in all physical, technical and psychological aspects of the game.
The League attracts clubs from the Premier League, Football League and the National League System Steps 1-5. The objective of the competition is to provide a high-quality experience for 16-19 year olds both on the pitch and through nationally recognised educational qualifications.
This league is open aged and is ran by former Football League referee Terry Holbrook. The league is all about development and provides games at a very good level against the likes of Alfreton Town and Stafford Rangers.
This a regionalised college league that pits us against the likes of Central College and Derby College. We also enter the Premier Cup which is a National College competition.
A fantastic opportunity for our youngsters to showcase their talents. This year we won all 4 of our qualifying rounds against Anstey Nomads, West Bridgford, Aylestone Park and Nuneaton Town before being beaten at home by Scunthorpe United in front of over 300 supporters. Scunthorpe went on to play Chelsea a couple of rounds later. It shows you what can happen.
As well as all of the above, we will enter an adult team in to the Central Midlands League structure. One of the aims of the Academy is to bridge the gap between Youth football and Senior football. The way we propose to do this is to enter a young development/reserve side in to the Central Midlands League. This will be run by Paul Holland and Steve Welsh and will continue to test our young players both physically and mentally and prepare them for the next step to First Team football at the club when ready.
We try and give every Academy player the opportunity to play at the highest level possible whether it is in our First Team, our FA Youth cup team or our College Team. You are not earmarked to one team, so you are not stuck in one squad for the season. If your performances are at a level where you need to be pushed more, the opportunity to move 'up a level' will be given to you at the right time. Equally if you are finding it hard to adapt to a level you can get game time at a lower game standard until you are ready to progress again.
One thing we are adamant about at the Academy, is that if you are behind on your academic studies through your own fault, your training and games will stop until the tutors tell us you are caught up and ready to carry on with the footballing side of the programme. You are given lots of support educationally and there is no reason for you to fall behind educationally at all.
We want you to enjoy your football and you will be given all the tools to really develop your game. We have high quality coaches at the club who have many years of experience within the Academy set up. You will be progressed at the right time. We have a name already as a club that plays football in the right way. Scouts are never turned away from our games as we want you playing at the highest possible level for yourselves, whether that be at Long Eaton United FC or even higher up the pyramid.
All of these players were Youth Team players under our coaches and have gone to play at the highest level. There are many more who have progressed to a very good level.
The academy offers a unique opportunity for youngsters who are interested in the various facets of sport and to seek a career in sport. The chance to study from GCSE to Degree level whilst playing football at a good level is, in my opinion, unprecedented locally and offers a learning environment that is attractive to prospective employers.
Steve Welsh - Academy Coach at Long Eaton United FC