The first showcase event of the season was held at the Ellesmere Academy site in Shropshire this month, with 60 players attending from both the Ellesmere Academy and the Manchester academy, along with local players from the area, all wanting to be seen by the club scouts and representatives in attendance.
The showcase event was the third of the season by the academy, and following the great success of the first two, where a number of players have gone on to further trials with professional clubs or signed at semi-professional level, the staff at the academy decided to bring the format to the fantastic facilities of Ellesmere College.
Scouts and club representatives from across the football pyramid were invited to the day, which saw 60 players take part in a variety of technical drills in small groups, led by the academy coaches including ex professionals such as ex Manchester City star Jon Macken & ex Chelsea star Frank Sinclair. Following on from the sessions, the players were all involved in 11 v 11 games, under the watchful eye of the attending clubs.
Academy Director Mick Brennan said “The day has been arranged to give the players a platform to show their ability, and also to forge links with the clubs out in this area. Over the past 10 years we’ve build up great links with the northwest clubs around the Manchester area, and since the launch of the academy at Ellesmere we’ve had great interest from the clubs in this area so we wanted to invite them in to see the players and try to work with them. From that point of view it’s been a huge success. Among the club representatives we have the top two clubs from the Welsh Premier League in attendance, both have identified players and are open to our coach’s recommendations throughout the season. That for us is a great pathway for these players to progress on into the professional game and get the opportunities they need”
From the day at least 6 players were identified by clubs to go in for further trials and the academy coaches are no looking through the player’s performance on the day to see who may be recommended to those clubs who couldn’t be in attendance but have asked for players in certain positions.
Head Coach Nigel Keogh believes these days are vital for player’s progression and opportunity “We are providing a platform for players to showcase themselves in front of people in the game that matter. They need that chance not only to do that, but to play alongside players of a high ability to be able to level themselves at where they are at, set targets for the future if they are not successful this time and build on their career”
Ex Chelsea star and Academy coach Frank Sinclair said “Days like this are important because it helps players get spotted – it increases the pathways for players. Some are making it through the traditional way at being at big clubs, like I did at Chelsea, which is difficult to do because there are high standards.
“Not all players have that opportunity and they may flourish when they’re at an older age.”
“It’s good to be a part of it as I’ve experienced it and you just try to help as much as you can and encourage as much as possible.”
Over the coming weeks the academy staff will be working with those clubs who were in attendance and those who have requested player details to arrange further trials at the clubs. The staff at the academy wish those players all the very best in these opportunities they have.
The next showcase event will be held at the Manchester site on Friday 6th April. Places will be limited on this trial due to the huge demand, so ensure you have booked your place early.