The Club will be expanding its football academy which already boasts over 150 players from the age of 6 up 16 year olds and will be setting up the 20s to help close the gap between the youth development and first team. The academy was pleased to see three of its U17 players make the bench last season and the Club will continue to look at giving the young players a chance to experience first team level in the future. The latest graduates to come through the youth system that are still involve with the first team are Brian Cameron (25) making his senior debut in 2008 at the age of 16 and Darryl McHardy (21) following in 2012 at 17 years old.
The man to lead this project is Robbie Hope (35) who is full time at the Club managing both the football academy & community scheme and is currently sitting his UEFA B coaching licence.
Robbie firmly believes there is much potential in the Club’s football academy and with all the hard work behind the scenes from the coaching, organisation, backing of the club and community feels is the catalyst behind developing players for Elgin City.
“Firstly I am delighted to take on this new role and to be working with the current squad of players. I am very thankful that the Club gives it full backing of this project and hopefully we can repay that faith by delivering our aims. Our ultimate goal is obviously producing players for the first team but also to help academy players reach their potential and find their level in football whether that be at Elgin City, the highland league, juniors or elsewhere.
It is the old age question why don’t club’s bring though and utilise their home grown talent? And the answer is simple, if they are good enough they would. Cutting player’s development at 16 years of age is not going to develop established players for the first team. We need to give them longer and we need to expose to them to competitive adult football regularly to keep up with the demands of senior football” – Robbie Hope.
The new squad seems set to join the North of Scotland Football League which last season was represented by Lossiemouth, Forres Mechanics, Nairn County, Alness United and Clachnacuddin. They will also be setting up fixtures with other HFL and SPFL U20 sides to complete a full season games programme.