Man Utd focus on grassroots with Emerging Talent Programme

Academy Manager Nick Cox says "local talent is fundamental to everything we do"

Academy Manager Nick Cox says "local talent is fundamental to everything we do"

MANCHESTER UNITED are launching a new Emerging Talent Programme to “radically increase the number of schools, grassroots clubs and communities we interact with”.

The programme is designed to be a bridge between the work done in schools and grassroots clubs and United's elite Academy at Carrington. The aim is to identify talented players across the North West and offer the most promising the opportunity to join a structured development programme at the Academy.

Over the next three years, the club intends to engage with more than 20,000 children and young people through the programme. Emerging Talent Programme Manager Jen Mildenhall will head up the project and there will be a “new, bespoke coaching and delivery staff”.

The existing Football in the Community staff - plus six new recruits - will form a part of the team.

United will still run their 29 Development Centres - which players join at nine-years-old - but the idea of the Emerging Talent Programme is to keep the doors to United's Academy open as wide and for as long as possible.

The Emerging Talent Programme will focus on three main areas:

1. Schools activity

Over the next three years, every primary school (approximately 900) and secondary school (approximately 400) in Greater Manchester will be offered the chance to participate in a Manchester United tournament or football festival event. There will be a range of formats in the Foundation Phase (Under-9s to U11s) and Youth Development Phase (U12s to U14s) age groups.

2. Grassroots clubs and coaches

United intend to “increase proactive engagement and strengthen relationships" with grassroots clubs at every level in Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and Yorkshire. This is to “support recruitment coverage and bridge the gap between grassroots and elite football”.

A minimum of 300 grassroots teams will attend tournaments and festivals organised by the Emerging Talent Programme each year, while a minimum of 50 grassroots clubs will receive on-site visits. At least 500 grassroots coaches will attend Manchester United CPD workshops every year.

3. Emerging Talent Centre

United will run an Emerging Talent Centre for 44 weeks of the year, based at the AON Training Complex. This will offer a “high-quality development programme for identified talented footballers” and focus on the U9 to U14 age groups. There will be a structured Games Programme for all age groups and the work in the Centre will be in addition to what the boys already do with their schools and grassroot clubs.

Nick Cox (above), Head of Academy for United, said: “Involving and engaging with a core of local talent is fundamental to everything we do at The Academy and in order to do this we are committed to our presence and activity within our local community in Manchester and beyond.

“The new Emerging Talent programme enables us to radically increase the number of schools, grassroots clubs and communities that we interact with across Manchester and the North West, allowing us to create a wider coaching network with better exposure to local footballing talent.

"As well as identifying talent, our aim is to give young people that are passionate about football an opportunity to have an experience of Manchester United.

“We’re aware of our responsibility to enrich the local football community by sharing resources and knowledge. Over the next three years, we aim to engage with over 20,000 children and young people (boys and girls) through a range of positive activities via schools and grassroots clubs.

“The aim is to increase their love of football and give them further opportunities to continue playing the game.”

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