As the Lions’ first team squad returned to pre-season training yesterday morning, there were a number of members of last season’s Youth Academy present.
If you visit our 2013-14 Squad News page today, you might notice some unfamiliar names. They are the first group of youngsters to graduate from the Guiseley Academy side and sign Conference papers. While individual talents such as Macaulay Parkinson and Luke Robinson have previously tasted first team action, the end of the inaugural season for Dave Currie’s young side gives the first opportunity for some of the most promising players to be offered a chance to progress into Steve Kittrick’s senior squad.
The Academy was only set up last season but since then have enjoyed a solid mid-table finish in the Conference Youth Alliance and also featured in the FA Youth Cup. The season also saw the emergence of a number of prospects, a number of whom have now signed forms with the first team ahead of the new season.
These include defenders Callum Marshall and Elliott Scott, and midfield trio Dane Hodgson, Luke Porritt and Ben Whitfield. Club secretary Adie Towers says it is right for the club to get the right blend of youth and experience.
Towers said: “Everyone at the club has been impressed with how well the Academy has done in their first season and it’s only right that the lads have the chance to progress.
“All the lads have done very well so far and we hope they can push to force a place in the first team squad as we look to reach the Conference.”
As well as coaching from manager Dave Currie, ex-Celtic midfielder Stuart Gray and first team Player of the Year Danny Ellis, the Academy also receive a two year BTEC education in Sport, in readiness for potential University entry. The current cohort will continue at Carr Manor Community School with this year’s entry joining Shipley College. Bespoke education options such as A-Levels or other courses may be arranged in consultation with individual candidates.
Vice-Chairman Phil Rogerson, who helped set up the Academy, says it represents a great opportunity for young people to mix education with football.
“It’s vital that they get a good education while playing, and the teaching side is not something we treat lightly.
“We’re looking to build on the great start the Academy has had and would encourage anyone who wants to learn more to get in touch.”
There are still spaces available in the Youth Academy for the forthcoming season and for information or queries, players or parents should contact Phil Rogerson on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01943 879236.