Blues look for young guns to follow in Pele’s footsteps

HIL055839-4_booker 17/12/05 (IH)''Former Pompey star Paul Hardyman puts the FC Booker players through their paces after winning a Pompey training session.'PICTURE;IAN HARGREAVES (055839-4)
HIL055839-4_booker 17/12/05 (IH)''Former Pompey star Paul Hardyman puts the FC Booker players through their paces after winning a Pompey training session.'PICTURE;IAN HARGREAVES (055839-4)
Stuart O'Keefe battles Osman Sow for the ball. Picture: Joe Pepler

O’Keefe: Pompey have finally clicked

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Pompey are to join a ground-breaking scheme offering young talents the chance to make a name for themselves in the futsal world.

The Blues are to give aspiring players the opportunity to join their all-new futsal and education scholarship.

That will offer them the chance to hone their ability in the same game as some of the world’s greats.

The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Zinedine Zidane, Cesc Fabregas and Pele credit the indoor skills-based form of the game with making them better players.

Now, young players aged 16 or 17 can compete against other professional clubs – while importantly continuing their education.

The football and education scholarship will see players continue their football development while also undertaking a BTEC Level 3 qualification in sport.

The Blues are one of eight sides in the south chosen to compete in the league alongside Exeter, Bristol City, Plymouth, Cardiff, Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham and Reading.

Former Blues favourite Paul Hardyman, now head of sports and coaching at the Pompey Sports & Education Foundation, believes it is an exciting development for the club.

Hardyman said: ‘This is a great opportunity for us and for young players to get involved.

‘The scheme is going to be ran on an Academy structure, with training four times a week and a day of education. It’s a way for people to continue their education in sport.

‘Futsal is a technical game, very technical, and it is now becoming bigger and people want to promote it.

‘It’s a really good way for people to get involved with a professional club and play against other pro clubs.

‘We are looking for two qualities – we want people who have had a good education and picked up five GCSEs, and we want to see people with a reasonable level of ability.

‘We’re delighted we’ve been chosen to be involved and it’s a bonus we were picked above Southampton as well!

‘We’re looking forward to getting the programme up and running.’

An open day for the futsal and education scholarship takes place next Thursday, May 19, at the Pompey Study Centre in Anson Road from 6.30pm to 8pm.

A trials day for one of the 17 scholarships up for grabs is then earmarked to follow on May 21.

For more details and an application form, please contact Victoria Link at the Pompey Sports & Education Foundation on (023) 9272 8899.