Weymouth College links up with Chelsea FC

Dorset Echo: COME ON YOUR BLUES: Sports development officer Ben Heath, right, with players Rickie King (left) and Liam Currell COME ON YOUR BLUES: Sports development officer Ben Heath, right, with players Rickie King (left) and Liam Currell

WEYMOUTH College may soon be fostering the next Frank Lampard or John Terry thanks to a historic link-up with FA Cup finalists Chelsea.

From September, the Premiership giants will help to run the college’s boys’ football academy.

Chelsea’s Football in the Community scheme will offer top-class coaching alongside a full-time academic course.

Clubs from Weymouth to Portland United to Bridport all look set to benefit from the new crop of talent that will break through the college academy.

Terras chairman Ian Ridley said: “Bringing in training skills of this level is a real boost for football in Dorset and the youngsters who are our future players.”

The link between Chelsea, who play Everton in Saturday’s FA Cup final, and the college comes in the form of former Southampton striker Ian Juryeff.

The 46-year-old is now a community coach with the Blues and has connections with the teaching staff at Weymouth College.

He will train the academy youngsters twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, while passing on expertise and support to the college’s own coaches.

“We have been developing the academy and our links for the last couple of years,” said Ben Heath, Weymouth College’s sports development officer.

“With Ian being a professional in his own right he will be able to provide mentoring and support.”

Mr Juryeff is a UEFA Level Four coach – the highest ranking possible – and will instil a professional ethos into the academy students.

Though supplying players to the Chelsea first-team will not be the academy’s primary goal, local clubs will feel the benefit of the community scheme.

Mr Heath said: “We hope to send players out in all directions. We are looking to develop their football and provide a platform for them to be seen and move into paid football.”

Trials for the new Chelsea-linked academy will take place on Saturday, June 27 at the Redlands Community Sports Hub.

They are open to all boys aged 16-19 and the field will be whittled down to around 40 players.

The first team will play in the Youth Conference League, while the back-up squad will be entered in the British Colleges South West Division.

Students will receive a minimum of six hours a week football coaching, which will run alongside a one or two year academic course.

Paul Lonsdale, vice-principal of Weymouth College, said: “As a truly top-flight club, Chelsea’s Football in the Community scheme can offer great professionalism and strengthen the footballing experience for young players going through our academy.” For more information or to register for the trials contact Ben Heath on 01305 764815 or you can send an email to ben_heath@weymouth.ac.uk.

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