Chesterfield have announced the launch of three Football Development Schools, which will help the League Two club bring on young talent.
The schools, which are in Chesterfield, Sheffield and Leeds, will provide a bridge between grassroots and Academy football for hundreds of youngsters, from the age of eight to 16.
Chief executive Chris Turner believes the new initiative will improve their prospects of developing other stars of the future. He said: “It will be one of the biggest development projects in the Football League, taking in schools in three major towns and cities. There will be around 450 young players attending the schools every week and the ones who impress could eventually join our Academy.
“The scheme is self-funding. A lot of top players have come out of Sunday League football over the years. I think these development schools are the way forward and we’re leading the way on that front.
“It’s all about getting youngsters to play in their own environment and enjoy playing football. Players while in our development schools, can also play for their grassroots and we encourage them to do this. While with us, they will receive quality coaching and be monitored by the club, hopefully providing us with the first option on them when the time is ready for them to join an Academy.”
Liam Sutcliffe will oversee the running of the centres after being appointed head of youth recruitment at the club..
Sutcliffe, who previously held a similar role at Rotherham United, outlined how the schools will operate. He said: “We will work with youngsters and provide them with the tools to play regularly at Academy level and we hope the number of players reaching our Academy will prove the scheme for developing players our way works.
“It’s a player-centred approach to developing young, talented players, with the aim of being able to source and provide players for the Academy and ultimately, in time, our first-team.
“We aim to build professional relationships with grassroots clubs rather than work against them. A tremendous amount of gifted and talented youngsters are currently going un-noticed. We want to give those players a chance."
Anyone interested in attending one of the schools should email firstname.lastname@example.org.