The club’s Emerging Talent Centre (ETC) is performing above and beyond in the recruitment and development of young players.
A partnership between the Chesterfield FC Community Trust and the club academy, the ETC has provided a pathway for talented youngsters in and around the Chesterfield area since its inception last summer.
ETC manager Stephen Hancock enthused about the growth of the organisation, saying: “The interest has grown massively and we’ve got more players now than we have ever had - we are now up to 180 players.
"More importantly, the standard of players has improved massively as well. We have had quite a few that have gone up to the academy for trials, and we are over double figures now for players that have gone into the academy and signed. And we have still got players that are currently up there on trial, which will up that number again.”
With weekly coaching sessions by FA-qualified staff and regular feedback on performance given to the players and parents throughout the development cycles, the organisation has really taken off.
“Talking to other clubs regarding how their development system works and how many players they get up to their academy, our numbers are much bigger than theirs,” Hancock said.
“I’m really pleased as it’s gone much better than we could have ever expected when we set it up just over six months ago. The numbers progressing has shocked me and has shocked the staff involved but that’s what we are here to do so it’s a massive positive.
“We never expected it to go to this scale so quickly. We were looking at it as a long-term plan to get to somewhere around where we are now and to do it in just over six months is unbelievable.
“The pathway for the players and parents is brilliant and I think the academy have been surprised at the standard of player we have got."
The ETC offers a fantastic opportunity for young footballers to initially create a connection with the club and then hopefully impress enough to be offered a place in the academy.
Hancock added: “We are competing with other clubs in the area that run similar systems for free. Ours obviously has got to pay for itself to run and that comes from charging the parents a monthly fee.
"For us to get in the standard of players that we are and for them to be turning down the local clubs to stay and be part of what we are doing is a credit to the coaches and the people involved in it.”