Harrogate Town academy launch 'a massive step in the right direction'

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver has described the launch of the club's Category 4 EFL Academy as a "massive step in the right direction".

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 4:44 pm
Former Knaresborough Town manager Paul Stansfield will head up Harrogate Town's newly-established academy.
Former Knaresborough Town manager Paul Stansfield will head up Harrogate Town's newly-established academy.

The academy will allow 16-18 year-olds the opportunity to train full-time with the League Two outfit, providing.young footballers a chance to develop under UEFA-licensed coaches with a view of progressing into the Sulphurites' first-team set-up.

“It’s vital that we launch our own academy, it’s a massive step in the right direction for the club in terms of fulfilling the vision of where we started and what we foresee being our future,” said Harrogate boss Weaver.

“The goal at this club has always been to produce youngsters from the first stage in our Player Development Centre to the youth teams and see them move into the first team and beyond, so this is hugely important for us.

Harrogate Town first team manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham

“There’s a lot of local talent, but by having an academy we are able to spread the net farther and wider in the hope that we produce some really good, talented youngsters.

“I always thought that, as a supporter, to see one of the local players breakthrough just brought that bit more pride, so it’s exciting already to see so many enthusiastic youngsters attend trials.

“We’re going to go for people that we think are honest lads and are very respectful so they’ll tick the boxes of all we believe in and allow us to know every team representing the club is taking to the field wearing the shirt with pride.”

Town's academy will be headed up by Paul Stansfield, a former Town player and manager of NCEL Premier Division side Knaresborough Town.

He will be supported by PDP coach Ross McKay, while Phil Priestley will act as goalkeeper coach and Josh Walsh academy secretary. Lee Barraclough takes the role of head of recruitment, with a full-time physio and part-time doctor to be appointed.

The academy will be based at West Riding FA along with the current first team and compete in the EFL Youth Alliance North East, allowing regular competitive fixtures and a clear pathway and progression through the ranks.

Town's under-19s, under-17s and under-19 Alliance teams will continue to run and compete in their respective leagues, alongside the newly established Academy.

The club remains on the lookout for host families and a physiotherapist for our 16–18 year olds. Suitable families would be interviewed by the club and would receive a CRB check, in line with current regulations.

For more information, please contact [email protected]