LANCASTER City are to set up their first youth academy.
The youth set-up will be run from Lancaster & Morecambe College and replaces the deal the club had with Myerscough College that saw players such as Danny Hattersley and Alex Kenyon play at Giant Axe before moving onto the professional game.
The deal from the start of next season will incorporate children as young as six all the way up to the club’s under 18 side.
Director of football Mick Hoyle said: “It’s exciting. I think it’s the way forward and will benefit both the area and Lancaster City Football Club.
“The college have wanted to do it for a few years but we haven’t ben able to because of the Myerscough link-up.
“But this is home-based and that wasn’t and it gives a chance to Lancaster and Morecambe players to move into the first-team. In the current financial climate it makes sense to put in a place a plan for the next three years to bring in local players.”
Youngsters in the under 18 side will be educated at and play for the college in the British College League during the week before representing the Dolly Blues in the North West Youth Alliance at the weekends.
The college’s football academy co-ordinator Ian Jones said: “The partnership will provide the opportunity for Lancaster players to be coached in Lancaster, educated in Lancaster and play for Lancaster City FC.
“It provides us with a really exciting opportunity to develop our students as players and coaches whilst supporting another one of our local clubs.”
The agreement extends beyond the under 18 team down through the Dolly Blues’ junior sides with coaching support and use of the facilities provided by the college.
The move will also see the club’s reserve side return to Giant Axe having been based at Myerscough despite the departure of the college’s football centre development manager Phil Brown as City assistant boss at the end of last season.
The first team are also set to have use of the college facilities for parts of their training from the start of the next season.
Anybody interested players who are leaving school this summer should email Ian Jones on firstname.lastname@example.org.