Reds make strides to reopen Youth Academy

Making changes. Crawley Town CEO Richard Low
Making changes. Crawley Town CEO Richard Low

Crawley Town will run a number of youth teams from next year with a view to re-forming a full Academy at the start of the 2014/15 season.

Two Academy Performance Centres (APC) - one in Crawley and one in Hampshire - will runs teams aged from under-nines to under-16s as of next season.

Those youngsters that make the grade will then become full Crawley Town Academy players the following year, under plans released today.

The club shut down its previous Academy in July 2012 to save costs, a little over a year after establishing it, leaving only an under-18 side below the senior team.

Since taking over as chief executive in January, Richard Low has indicated that re-establishing a full youth section was a major priority, with the club missing out on local talent to neighbouring clubs like Brighton.

Following today’s news he said: “Because of the costs involved we had to close our Academy below under-18 level a year ago prior to my appointment, but since I came to the club one of my long-term aims has been to establish a new one.

“Applicants should think of the APC as a private school for elite youth footballers. An APC gives us the opportunity to integrate the best young players into Crawley Town FC next season with the aim of continuing it from 2014-15 onwards, running alongside a Football League Academy.

“We will eventually have a multi-level Academy system with over 300 boys and APCs in two counties with boys and girls from four years old on a pathway all the way through to a reserve team squad just below the first team.”

The APC will be managed by Derren Martin, who has been coaching junior footballers for 15 years and comes to the football club with experience of running an APC on the Surrey/Hampshire border.

He said: “The APC model works. It prepares children of all ages for what is expected later as a professional footballer.”

Trials will take place this summer with pre-season training beginning in August and fixtures starting in September.