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Club News

Academy Day

26 January 2016

We’re pleased to announce that Saturday’s League One fixture v Burton Albion is Academy Day.

It’ll see around 150 youngsters from the club’s Academy, Elite Development Squad and Futsal team attend the game. They’ll be watching the match from the stand, so if you see them, why not give them a warm welcome!

Partners from Hopwood Hall College, Richmond Sports Coaching, Derby University and Rochdale Borough Council will also be in attendance.  

The Academy story…

The club has always been proud of its production line of young talent, and over the last seven years there have been many knocking on the first team door. They are now being allowed in thanks to the opportunities given by Manager Keith Hill.

The journey from Centre of Excellence to Academy has been both rewarding and challenging with the implementation of the Elite Player Performance Plan, making sure all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed. 

Not least it has seen the number of full time COE/Academy staff rise from four (Chris Beech, Tony Ellis, Gary Thompson & Ronnie Cusick) to eight! Add in the 18 part time coaches, two physios, chief scout, education manager, analyst and the academy secretary, then you can begin to imagine the size of the day to day operation at hand in the quest to get players onto the pitch.

It’s not only the staff that have seen the changes, some recognisable players have made the transition from COE to Academy and then to the first team.

Players such as Will Buckley, Mat Hughes, Joe Thompson, Darcy O’Connor, Joel Logan, Jamie Allen, Scott Tanser, Callum Camps, Andy Cannon, Connor Ronan, Johnny Diba Misangu, Billy Hasler-Cregg, Nyal Bell & James Hooper were all here before the EPPP was a glint in the FA & Premier League’s eyes. So the focus always was, and always will be, to produce players for the first team.

The second part of the Club & Academy vision is to own our own purpose built state of the art facilities where the first team can prepare for matchday in the comfort of our own home, and where Academy players can develop and flourish with the dream of being a professional footballer and gracing the Spotland pitch.

Until we find a Sheikh with a bit of time and money on his hands, or an American Tycoon with a new business in mind at The Dale, we will have to carry the fight ourselves, and that is exactly what the Board and Academy are looking to do. By developing new partnerships with Hopwood Hall College, Richmond Sports Coaching, Matthew Moss High School, Derby University, Prozone and Rochdale Borough Council, we have got the right people on board to support our vision.

The Academy has recently started three new Elite Development Squads – two at U18 level and one at U21 level, as well as three Development Centres at U14-U16, to shadow the Academy players and to provide opportunities for late developers, increase the number of players to choose from and to bring in an income stream.

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