Concord Rangers' plan for football academy

Basildon Recorder: Gary Ogilvie (in action here for the first-team) will lead the under-18s team next year Gary Ogilvie (in action here for the first-team) will lead the under-18s team next year

CONCORD Rangers are preparing for the future as they launch plans to start a full-time football academy at the start of the 2014/15 season.

The Skrill South club’s new academy would cater for 16-19 year olds and would give the talented youngsters an extra year to showcase their skills in the youth team.

Academies at Southend United, Colchester United and West Ham United only cater for young players up to the age of 18 and the Beachboys manager Danny Cowley says offering the chance to under-19s will give the club a “unique selling point”.

“We want to give the talent in this part of the world the best chance to shine and we feel we are in a position to help them more than ever before,” said Cowley.

“The academy will be on Canvey, but we are not sure where yet. We will also look to introduce a 3G pitch over time and the chance to educate young players is something I want to be involved with.”

Cowley, head of PE at the FitzWimarc School in Rayleigh, says his team’s success on the pitch has translated to the academy plans coming into being sooner than anticipated. The club finished ninth in their first season in the Skrill South and won the Essex Senior Cup.

“It is great to be in the position to plan ahead and build a legacy for the club,” said Cowley. “We would like to introduce a 3G pitch to train on behind the Aspect Arena in the future, but that is something we will work on later.”

The club already has successful youth teams – ranging from under-11 to under-18 – and the current boss says anyone who proves themselves in the academy will progress to the youth team and if they impress, be promoted to the first team.

The under-18 team will be managed by first-team midfielder Gary Ogilvie next season, in preparation for the launch of the academy a year later.

Cowley added Ogilvie, inset, who is currently playing in Canada, will be the perfect man to lead the up-and-coming stars.

“I am very excited to see him take on the role. We all know him well and he is relishing the opportunity.”

Budding footballers who are interested in trying out for the Concord Rangers under-18s team next season can attend trials on Saturday, June 14, at the Basildon Post Office Sports & Social Club, in Gardiners Close, Basildon, at 10am.

Trialists should call 01268 515750 or tweet @ConcordRangers.

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