Bognor Town FC launch talent pathway

The search is on to find players of the future for The Rocks.

Developing young players good enough to pull on a Rocks first team shirt is one of the goals of an exciting new initiative at Nyewood Lane.

Nye Camp committee member Russ Chandler has teamed up with Bognor assistant boss Jamie Howell and former Chelsea youth team skipper Danny Hollands to launch the Rocks Performance Pathway (RPP).

The announcement comes after the plans were showcased at the highly successful fans’ forum as part of the Rocks ongoing strategic review led by Chandler.

Some observers have long held the view that, for whatever reason, local talent hasn't been able to be cultivated to provide a reasonable number of players to graduate to represent the club.

Now technical lead Howell, head coach Hollands -- currently playing in National League South with Eastleigh -- and Chandler, head of performance, hope to be able to address that over time. And they have the full support of first team manager Robbie Blake.

Chandler explains: “We believe young players should be able to access a professional development programme whilst continuing their grassroots experience. In Jamie and Danny, we have two of the finest football coaches around and both have a keen eye for identifying young talent.

“By encompassing the latest protocols in sports science, sports psychology, nutritional and cognitive training, we aim to offer the best football development programme outside of the professional game and we are committed to helping young players achieve their goals and hope to provide talent a pathway to the Bognor Regis Town FC first team squad."

Howell, currently No.2 to Blake and heavily involved with the club's U18 set-up, said: "I'm delighted to be involved. It's something we have talked about for a long time. I've had a football academy, as such, in the town for a long time and we get to a certain age and there wasn't a pathway for the boys.

"We want to see more players at the football club, representing the football club. I spoke to Russ, and lots of other people at the football club, to try to see if we could get something off the ground. Hopefully, in the future, we will have more players representing the first team that come from the local area and understand how we want to play at Bognor. Robbie is on board with it, he understands how much we want local players from the community to be behind the first team at the club, so I think bodes well."

The search for players of the future starts when RPP stages U13 and U14 trials at Nyewood Lane on April 21 between 9am and 3pm. And Chandler added: "This first trial will be a games-based day with a chance to learn more about RPP and discover the exciting plans we have to help you strive for excellence.

"Food will be available to purchase midway through the trial and the team will hold a presentation for parents that want to know more about the programme and longer-term plans for the RPP. This trial is open to boys born between 1st Sep 2008 and the 31st Aug 2010. We look forward to seeing everyone."

For more information email rocksperformance@gmail.com or call 07545 481 93

Carl Eldridge

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