Moneys and Claridge excited by Academy link-up

Steve Claridge at the launch of his new academy. Picture: Allan Hutchings
Steve Claridge at the launch of his new academy. Picture: Allan Hutchings
Theo Widdrington. Picture: Sarah Standing (170841-4476)

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Moneyfields, with the help of Pompey great Steve Claridge, are aiming to become a centre of excellence in sport and education.

Along with PTC Sports, a national sports coaching company, they are starting up the Steve Claridge Football Academy in partnership with Moneyfields in September

Up to 40 local footballers will get the opportunity not only to develop their careers in the game but also to further their own education.

The selected candidates will work towards level two or level three BTEC sports coaching qualification through a unique education programme.

‘I am very excited about the whole project,’ said Claridge.

‘The majority of the education will be delivered in a live field environment where they will be taught sports and fitness skills.

‘But it is more than about just football and the students will also spend time looking at lifestyle issues involving health and nutrition.

‘It is a fantastic scheme and an all-round educational package.

‘The ages of 16 to 18 can be a difficult time for some youngsters and we are hoping to provide a little guidance and sense of direction for our students.

‘We want to make a difference to the lives of the students coming through our Academy.

‘Education, welfare and exercise will be at the centre of it all.

‘I am heading the Academy team and will spend time each week working with the students to enhance and nurture their playing skills and development.’

Claridge and PTC Sports managing director Craig Parry believe Moneyfields is the ideal venue for the new venture. They are both impressed not only by the facilities at Dover Road but also by the way the club play an important part in the local community.

Moneys possess brand new gym facilities, while membership of the social club by local residents has risen by hundreds in the past year.

‘One of the things we liked is that the people at Moneyfields are not in it for the money but just want to further their football club,’ said Claridge.

‘In the future, the Academy are planning to build high-tech, state-of-the-art, top-quality classrooms as part of our partnership.

‘The club already have two full-scale top-condition football training grounds along with a gym and an all-weather pitch.’

The youngsters who enrol will get the chance to progress into Wessex League football with Moneyfields and will also represent the Academy in various midweek and weekend leagues.

The Academy will also be linked with various professional clubs, providing selected candidates an opportunity to showcase their talent nationwide.

Moneyfields chairman, Paul Gregory, added: ‘Most academies are linked to schools or colleges but we will be stand alone delivering everything on site.

‘As a club we are all about the community and the families within it and always have been.

‘This is about taking it to another level and helping the youngsters locally.’