Date: 9th July 2015 at 3:55pm
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Yeovil’s returning Academy set up has finally been given the green light by the Football Association.

New Academy rules have to be followed, and with our award of a Category Three Academy, the rules stipulate whether coaches should be full or part time for example and also the minimal budget allocation required to fund its running by the club.

With the paperwork all done and dusted now, Yeovil are hoping to relaunch the Academy under former Torquay youth head Geoff Harrop, with ten part time coaches that will take charge of ten different age groups from under 9s through to under 18.

It’s expected the under 15 and 16 and then under 17 and 18 groups will be together.

With Harrop overseeing four first team promotions from his youth ranks last season at Plainmoor, he’s obviously looking for similar success in his role with us.

In quotes carried by the Western Gazette he explained.

‘I’m so excited. I’m a typical half-Italian who gets very excited about things. Everyone I speak to is pleased we have got the Academy going again. It’s fantastic news for the local people who have missed it and I’ve got to thank the parents for getting the kids along.’

Trials for our new Academy have been ongoing for the last two months and the club have had 900 applications from Yeovil and the surrounding areas, so interest is clearly high in the project once more.

For Harrop it’s not just about Academy coaching though, educational attainment in non football areas is key for him – hence our tie in with Yeovil College where plans have been put in place having worked closely with principal John Evans.

Evans explained.

‘Yeovil College is proud to be working in partnership with Yeovil Town Football Club again to deliver the educational studies for the new academy footballers. The programme is an excellent opportunity to develop the football stars of the future and to give a clear educational pathway for local and regional academy apprentices. The apprentices will be studying at the college for a day-and-a-half a week working towards their Level Three BTEC qualification.’

However, with the restart of the Academy Harrop rubbished speculation suggesting we would partner with Southampton given their long history of developing youngsters like Gareth Bale and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to name just two.

‘I’m sure they, like so many top clubs, will be keeping an eye on things and we don’t want to stand in the way of players who want to try and make it in the Premier League. But the most important thing for us is getting those players out on the pitch at Huish Park.’

Harrop also had thanks for the board and others for their efforts as we already have six coaches with UEFA B licences appointed ready to start and he expects the full compliment of staff to be in place with a fortnight.

‘Andy, John Fry and Dave Lee have been instrumental in getting us off the ground. Both the board and manager Paul Sturrock have played a key part in getting it started. Success is there if you work hard enough and it’s all about the kids now. It’s a new dawn.’

Building further on our Academy preparations, the club have also now appointed David Byrne as our head of youth at the club.

Byrne is well known by manager Paul Sturrock, having worked with him on previously at Plymouth Argyle and Swindon Town.

The 54 year old has most recently been working with Bolton Wanderers and has experience as Dave Jones’ assistant at Sheffield Wednesday.

Speaking after he was appointed to the club, he said.

‘I’m delighted to be working with Paul again and with Terry Skiverton and Darren Way up here at Yeovil. It’s a challenge all right after two relegations in a row, but Yeovil are a great club and with Paul at the helm and with the staff that he likes and trusts, I’m confident we will do well.’

Byrne went on to say it’s not easy to establish and restore a winning mentality at the club given the run we have been on but fresh faces will help that, and of course Sturrock has a good track record on that front given his own managerial career.

‘Paul has literally had to build up the present Yeovil squad from practically nothing, but he has brought in some experienced players and also recruited some promising youngsters. With the season just under a month away, there is a lot of work to be done yet, but I’m very pleased to be part of the team.’

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