15:00 23 January 2017
By Dave Toyn
Stevenage Football Club believes in developing players to support and enhance the first team squad and has a detailed Academy structure in place to help achieve this.
The Academy operates at Category 3 under EPPP criteria and auditing. Teams are registered from Under-9s to Under-18s. The Under-9-Under-14s play friendly games in the Football League games programme whilst the Under 15/16 and Under-18 sides play in regional competitive leagues.
Players within the Academy are given the best opportunity to develop based upon their individual needs and growth and are reviewed during each six week phase. This is in addition to player / parent coach review meetings every ten weeks. Players must strive to progress year on year to achieve a new contract under Under-16s, where they are given a decision as to whether they are offered a two year scholarship with the club.
All Academy coaches are UEFA ‘B’ certified and follow a stringent appraisal system and CPD programme, in order to ensure the coaching delivered is fresh, relevant and engaging.
In addition to the regular Academy teams at Under-9 to Under-16 level, the club operates development centres, shadow squads and Elite Development Programmes, all of which provide youngsters from Stevenage, across the country and beyond with a range of performance and educational opportunities to help fulfil their potential.
The Stevenage Under-18s squad are full-time, elite players sourced from within the club’s local community and locations across the world.
The team represents the Football Club in the South East Youth Alliance League, the FA Youth Cup and occasional tournaments abroad, with the best scholars often featuring in first team training and various non-first team fixtures. These young players operate around a comprehensive weekly 17 hour training timetable at the Stevenage FC Academy at Shephalbury, whilst undertaking a BTEC level 2/3 Diploma in Sport for 12 hours per week at Marriotts School in Stevenage.
The ultimate aim and objective for these players is to be awarded a professional contract by the club, allowing them the opportunity to gain first team Football League playing opportunities. You can see a list of past Under-18 graduates by clicking here
Student Athlete Programme
Stevenage FC’s Student Athlete programme is a new programme which runs in line with the academic year. The programme allows players in the elite Academy section (see above diagram) the opportunity to join the £43m Marriotts School in Stevenage, where they are able to undertake mainstream secondary education whilst receiving additional coaching from the club’s Academy coaches.
For the players that choose this option they can expect to receive full academic provision with the school, as well as five hours of onsite curriculum time coaching within their enrolled Academy squad. In addition, players will also receive an extra three hours of after-school based coaching. Within the definition of the Student Athlete programme, ‘student’ is most certainly the operative word. Being an athlete is then seen as a privilege and one they must earn. Student’s practical participation is only guaranteed if they meet their academic potential on a daily basis.
Academy Playing Philosophy
Stevenage Football Club believes in developing players to support and enhance the First Team squad. Our philosophy is not one of stipulation, i.e Playing through the thirds, but more guided to developing ‘Independent Operators’ - ones that can diagnose and problem solve during the ebb and flow of play. In its entirety this means that each player will be educated in being able to make the ‘best decision’ of when to play long or short, direct or methodical and patient or quick. The Player himself constitutes our philosophy through this process. Dependent on the individual and the system of play being implemented at that moment, the player/s will be able to make the following decisions:
1. Direction of Play
Based upon the individual’s knowledge of systems and tactics, he can dictate the direction of play dependent on the numerical advantage of the system we are using.
2. Tactic/Strategy of Play
Due to the player’s enhanced decision making skills, they can determine what is required in terms of the teams strategy and tactics for that given moment. i.e. Does the goalkeeper play out through the defensive third or play direct into the attacking third? Only contributing factors and recognition of those moments will allow him to make the best decision.
From what the individual identifies he must be able to execute, whether tactical or technical (i.e. 4-3-3 vs 4-4-2) equates to a numerical overload in central areas both in attack and defence. Therefore the team must identify, diagnose and execute in order to gain an advantage. Players must also be able to deliver the right pass, touch or movement on time when needed/presented. Identify, diagnose and execute!
The Academies identity can be observed through all playing and coaching and is visible at all times within these areas of the game;
• Players pressurise from a structured foundation at all times
• Players win the ball as high up the pitch as possible
• Marking players is prioritised over marking space
• Creating 2v1 defensive overloads is the benchmark of this philosophy
• Independently diagnose when and where to play short or long
• Direct play through numerical overloads
• Create numerical overloads in all areas
• Player retain the ball immediately upon regaining (1st 2 passes)
• Player immediately disrupt play upon losing possession (5 yard fury)
• Players organise their shape with hast when regaining or retaining the ball
Stevenage FC recognises its moral and legal obligation to ensure that, the coaches and volunteers who have a responsibility for young people within the Club provide them with the highest possible standard of care. Through the implementation of a policy for the Welfare of Young People and the support of its coaches and volunteers, Stevenage FC will maintain the professionalism and safeguards of good practice which are associated with the game. The welfare and safety of every child will come before any technical or tactical philosophy of this Football Club.
Robbie O'Keefe - Academy Manager
Stephen Payne – Head of Coaching
Glenn Quirke - Academy Operations Manager
Ian Morris - Head of Academy Recruitment
Jorden Gibson - Youth Development Phase Lead Coach
Adamo Balletta - Foundation Phase Lead Coach
Adam Maguire - Academy Doctor
Ryan Flarry - Temporary Academy Physiotherapist
Ieuan Lewis - Academy Strength & Conditioning Coach
For email addresses please use the contact's first name and surname initial. For example Glenn Quirke = email@example.com.
Stevenage Football Academy
SG2 8RH (satnv use SG2 8NP)
Tel: 01438 368068
Stevenage FC Under-15/16s - 2015/16 season
Stevenage FC Under-14s - 2015/16 season
Stevenage FC Under-13s - 2015/16 season
Stevenage FC Under-12s - 2015/16 season
Stevenage FC Under-11s - 2015/16 season
Stevenage FC Under-10s - 2015/16 season
Stevenage FC Under-9s - 2015/16 season