Steve Claridge is offering free training sessions for those who might be interested in joining the new intake at his academy later this year.
The former Pompey star is hosting the sessions tomorrow at Wicor Recreation Ground in Portchester (10am to 12pm) and Moneyfields FC (1pm to 3pm) for 16 to 18-year-olds.
Claridge and his team of coaches are giving youngsters the opportunity to learn about the course his academy offers – with a BTEC qualification in a football environment available for those who have left school.
But the much-travelled striker – who enjoyed a stellar career in the professional game – is keen to expand the successful venture with plans to open a new phase of the academy in Portchester in September.
Claridge said: ‘It’s been fantastic so far. The lads have really taken to it with a great deal of enthusiasm.
‘They were an absolute rabble to start with but they are not a rabble any more.
‘We’ve got a structure and some discipline and we beat the team that is top of the league last week, which was lovely. It shows the progress that has been made.
‘We’ve had a lot of interest but we want to let people know there are still places available for youngsters who don’t know what they want to do in terms of education.
‘It gives them an idea of what to expect.’
The Steve Claridge Football Academy has recently been given planning permission for classrooms, artificial pitches and a host of facilities as part of the expansion plans.
Claridge said: ‘It’s exciting stuff. We’ve got a lot of plans on how we want to improve the course.
‘These open sessions give people an idea of what to expect.
‘So bring your boots, shin pads and some kit.’
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