Saints plan to tap into the region’s talent with new academy set-up

ST NEOTS Town have unveiled long-term plans to develop the club's youth football offering with a Football in the ­Community scheme.

The proposals could see the Saints establish youth teams in time for the 2010-2011 season, building up to a full youth set-up as the club seeks Charter Standard status.

Ultimately, the Saints are hoping to set up teams at every age group to progress through to the current U18 team and the senior first team.

Saints chairman said the scheme was an important part of St Neots Town's planning for the future.

"We want to be known as the elite club in the area, and to attract the best local talent, who will come to us knowing that they can get the best possible coaching.

"We hope that we are going to be able to establish teams from ages 11 upwards, with the aim of developing it into an academy set-up eventually.

"The youth teams will be very much part of the senior club set-up, and the idea is that the players coming through the youth system will eventually be able to feed all the way through to the first team."

The Football in the Community scheme will have two main thrusts - as well as establishing a training academy for the cream of the region's young talent, Delaney said it was also the club's long-term aim to bring more children into football and the life of the club in general.

That could be achieved through holiday football camps, and ­Saturday morning coaching sessions, where children can benefit from club's qualified coaches on an informal basis.

"People sometimes say that kids lack things to do in St Neots, but we have fantastic facilities at the Hunts Post Community Stadium, and we would like to open them up for young people to use," said Delaney.

For those youngsters not interested in the playing side, the club is also looking at running other courses, including training for match official and sports injury therapists.

"We want to increase awareness of all the other roles that are part of the game, and make them part of our club, too," added Delaney.

Saints have already made links with several schools in the town to examine the possibility of supporting after-school sessions. This could also extend into assemblies covering topics of fitness and healthy eating.

The first step for the club will be to recruit youth coaches who are interested in joining the scheme, to coach youth teams of all ages.

Delaney said: "At the moment there is no St Neots Town youth system, and we are convinced there is demand for an exciting new part of the club.

"We see this extending to many youth teams, for boys and girls, and possibly disability teams."

Once coaches have been appointed, the club will assess the possibility of entering youth leagues in time for the new season.

"Our objective is to become the natural focal point for the top young players, said Delaney. "That's a must for us.

"We have a lot of ambition and there is a buzz around the club about the new plans, so we are looking for people who share that ambition to get in touch."

INFORMATION: Coaches interested in becoming involved should e-mail their football CV to louise@stneotsfc.com or call the club on 01480 470012.