Chesterfield’s development centre is flourishing, providing youngsters from the region and beyond with a great opportunity to progress to the club’s academy.
Eight youngsters recently made the step up to the academy and four development centre players featured in Chesterfield’s youth team game against Doncaster Rovers at the weekend.
One of the new academy recruits, Liam Bell (12), who hails from Bolsover, praised the role played by the development centre. He said: “My progress to the academy is mainly down to the development centre so I’m really grateful to the coaches there.”
Liam’s father, Keith, added: “Being at the development centre was a great help because they pushed him and greatly improved his game.
“Without the development centre, I think it would be tough for a lad of Liam’s age to make the step up to the academy. It changes their mindset from grassroots football to how an academy operates.”
Steve Cooper from Rotherham, whose 14-year-old son Callum came through the development centre’s Sheffield school, said: “Liam (Sutclffe) and his coaches were fantastic. They provide a great opportunity for youngsters.”
Chesterfield’s head of youth recruitment, Liam Sutcliffe, said: “The progress made by these youngsters shows what can be achieved with hard work and dedication, allied to ability.
“It is great to see that the club’s recruitment and development programme is thriving and we are immensely proud of what has been created at the club over the last 12 months.”
Chesterfield chief executive Chris Turner added: “I was delighted to see a number of youngsters from the development centre play for the youth team against Doncaster and contribute to a fine performance. It shows that the club’s youth policy is definitely moving in the right direction.”