Kidderminster Harriers are stepping up their long-term efforts to find the stars of the future by setting up a development centre which will focus on junior football teams.
The centre will concentrate on sides in the under-12s, 13s, 14s, 15s and 16s age groups and play on Saturday mornings in either the Junior Premier League South or in the Midland Junior Premier League.
The project will be based at the Stourbridge College Centre of Sporting Excellence, which was formerly known as the Brintons Chainwire site before it was purchased earlier in the year.
It will be overseen by Harriers academy manager Jerry Gill, who is keen to harness the potential of the various junior teams which already play under the Harriers banner.
The academy, having just completed its first season, is jointly ran by the Aggborough outfit and the college, which is also set to start work on transforming the Zortech Avenue base this summer.
Gill believes the development centre will also help to provide a new conveyor belt of young talent to feed into the academy, which already has under-18s players honing their football skills while continuing their education at Stourbridge.
“There were a number of junior teams playing under the Kidderminster Harriers name but what we wanted to do is bring it together,” commented Gill.
“It’s important for me we concentrate on developing the players, rather than focus on winning games.
“We want to make sure there is a clear pathway for younger players from the very start.
“This will be about creating a club philosophy which will be shared by all junior and teams in the academy.”
In order to recruit players, open trials are being held at the centre of excellence this weekend, with the under-16s (10am to 11.30am), under-13s (10.30am to noon), under-12s (12.30pm to 2pm) and under-14s (2.30pm to 4pm) on Saturday and under-15s (2.30pm to 4pm) on Sunday.
There will be two under-15s teams and all coaching will be carried out by UEFA B and FA level two and level one qualified coaches, while match day managers will be appointed separately.
Trials are open to be attended but to register for them and find out more information anyone interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org Meanwhile, Gill is also hoping to strengthen the academy side this summer and provide some of his young charges with more experience on loan.
The academy is set to be expanded from 70 to 100 next season with the expansion of the men’s section and introduction of a women’s team.
He revealed players who have been released from Aston Villa, Walsall and Wolverhampton’s youth set-ups are set to join.
Established academy players such as Paul Hurrell are also likely to go out on loan to gain experience.