12:00 22 March 2016
By Dave Toyn
One of the many success stories in the Stevenage FC Academy structure over the past few years has been the Elite Development Programme (EDP).
The EDP is a two year scholarship for boys aged 16-19 years old, during which they study for a BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport, the equivalent of 3 A-Levels, at either Marriotts School in Stevenage or Cheshunt Football Club (Elite College Programme).
The course allows youngsters to get to university whilst also gaining qualifications to work in the sports industry. Participants train for up to eight hours a week with UEFA 'B' qualified Stevenage FC Academy coaches and have up until now represented the club in the British Colleges League.
There are a number of similar college schemes out there but what sets the Stevenage EDP apart from the rest is this direct access to elite Academy coaches and facilities. Not only can we provide a first class education but the training facilities both at Marriotts, Cheshunt FC and at the Stevenage FC Academy are exceptional. Participants also have the chance to be selected for our elite club under-18 squad, with some EDP players featuring in this season's FA Youth Cup squad.
Graduates of the scheme have often gone on to achieve great careers as professional footballers, coaches, sports scientists, analysts and many more vocations in football and sport.
From September 2016, a third Elite Development Programme with Biggleswade United is starting, providing a first-class two-year programme of sport and education for 25 school leavers. Coaching will be provided by Pro Licence coach Cristian Colás and existing facilities in Stevenage will be used for both education and football. Read the thoughts of Sky Sports presenter and Biggleswade United Director of Football Guillem Balague about the new programme here
Details on the latest trials for the Elite Development Programmes can be found here
Follow the fortunes of the Stevenage EDP squads at Marriotts in the Tactic Football League (first team) here
and the National Scholarship Development League (second team) here
Meanwhile the Cheshunt ECP result / league table can be found here
The Stevenage Elite Development Programme squad at Marriotts School - 2015/16
The Elite College Programme squad based at Cheshunt FC - 2015/16
Stevenage FC club captain Ronnie Henry and Academy Manager Robbie O'Keefe with Biggleswade United's Guillem Balague and Cristian Colás