New Era for Aspiring Football Stars: Gateshead FC's Junior Academy Takes Off
Gateshead FC staff and players from the first team and Academy with new Junior Academy players. Back row (l-r) Rob Elliot, Tom Myers, Connor Pani, Ollie Thompson, Louis Storey, front row, Millie Blackburn, Murray Buckingham, Cameron Toal, Chelsea Hall, Ethan Peden.

Pupils hailing from various schools in the North East shall reap the rewards from a recently inaugurated football development initiative by Gateshead FC.

In collaboration with Gateshead College, the club endeavours to foster the upcoming cohort of footballing prodigies in the area by establishing the Junior Football Academy, catering to players aged 10 to 16.

The new programme will provide progression to the Gateshead FC Academy, a long-standing partnership between Gateshead FC and Gateshead College which gives 16- to 18-year-olds the chance to study and play for a professional club.  The Academy has produced footballing stars including Oli Thompson, Elliot Forbes, Tom White and Connor Pani.

The Gateshead FC Junior Academy includes girls’ and boys’ teams and caters for all abilities from the age of 10, or school year six. All teams will use Gateshead College’s facilities at the Academy of Sport by Gateshead International Stadium for training and development. The college’s coaches will be involved in the U16 pathways to progression.

“We are thrilled to launch the Junior Academy in partnership with Gateshead College.

“Following in the footsteps of our highly successful Gateshead FC Academy, our junior version is a highly positive step in nurturing young talent and providing pathways to excellence in football.

“Our collective efforts will ensure the North East continues to be a fertile ground for developing football stars of the future.”

Neil Pinkerton, chairman of Gateshead FC

As the principal partner, Gateshead College will play a key role in raising the awareness of the junior academy to sustain, develop and grow the programme.

“Being part of our local community is really important to us and we’re pleased to be partnering with Gateshead FC to develop youth football both in Gateshead and the wider region.

“The Gateshead FC Junior academy builds on our existing partnership with Gateshead FC to give junior players a brilliant opportunity to train and coach with a professional club with a clear pathway to continue in their chosen sport both during and beyond their college studies.

“We’re proud to be at the forefront of shaping promising futures for young players in the North East and we know the academy will have a positive impact young people across the region.”

John Deary, assistant principal at Gateshead College

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