Druids to introduce a complete academy restructure to push our club in the right direction!
For the past year, Druids have undergone a complete restructure, both on and off the pitch, that has seen the club get onto a more stable financial footing and change our playing style and development philosophy.
To the outside world, the transition has been to the playing style and playing squad of the first team. Internally, the restructuring and transitioning work has been done to the academy and development structure and it allows players and parents to see the pathway to playing at the highest levels.
The new structure follows the same format as an English Premier League club and the Elite Players Performance Plan (EPPP). We don’t have access to the finances of the English FA or the UEFA EPPP funding stream but we have had substantial investment from the Chairman and his ambition is to develop an elite football academy.
In the past, the club has had a pathway that stopped players from making it into the first team squad. This has now changed.
From June 2021, Druids will have a pathway for players and coaches from U10 upwards, that culminates in giving a player aged 17 the chance to train with and play for the first team.
Elite Development Squad
We are replacing our Reserves team with an Elite Development Squad (EDS). A predominantly U21 side that will focus on youth development post-academy and play in the Reserves League. The EDS will have 16 of the best players in the academy training and playing alongside the first team, which will aid the development of players. There are plans to make the EDS a full time team, combining education and training during the week and games at the weekend.
All EDS players will be registered to play for the first team and the training schedules they follow are similar to those of the clubs in the English Premier League and Championship.
The U19 team will remain in place, as per FAW requirements, but it will have a more formal approach to training. Players in the U19’s are aiming for a place in the EDS and training will have the emphasis of introducing players to the competitive world of professional football.
We are aiming to introduce a new team to the elite development phase of the academy and the aim of the U17’s is to bridge the gap between playing technical based football to the more robust physical and fitness based side of the game.
The Academy (12-16)
The overhaul of the Development Phase of the academy is now complete and the introduction of the two new Heads of Phase means the DNA of the club and the playing philosophy will filter down faster and more intensely. Our aim is to be one of the best academies in North Wales and develop more players for the first team than any other club in Wales.
The Pre-Academy (7-11)
Football is about fun and this age group is all about skill acquisition and fun. The way the fundamentals are taught will be the same right throughout the academy and it will start here.
The above changes have meant that some coaches are unable to commit their time and we would like to thank them for all their help and assistance. Without them, the academy would not have been able to function.
It is an exciting time to be a part of this great club, as we move in the right direction. Our vision is clear and we aim to continue striving for it!
More than just a football club.