A school is aiming to help develop star footballers of the future after announcing plans to expand its successful football academy.
Monkseaton High School has already achieved success with its sixth form academy, creating links with colleges and universities in America.
We are delighted to be given the challenge of making the best of emerging young players on Tyneside.Martin Scott, creator of Improtech
But from 2016, it is creating an all-school football academy to help pupils aged 13 and over develop as footballers and potentially secure places at professional clubs.
The school will team up with market leaders Improtech to provide the best coaching alongside their education.
Headteacher Tracy Crowder said: “We are thrilled that from next year we will offer a five-year programme for talented young footballers which should greatly enhance their hopes of making a career out of the game.
“It’s a bold step for the school but the right one because our partnership with Improtech means we are getting a proven football academy system of the highest quality.
“Improtech has been running at the Kepier Elite Academy in Houghton for the last three years with many of their pupils being picked up professional football clubs and we want Improtech to produce the same success on Tyneside as they have on Wearside.”
The new Football Academy model – the only one of its kind on Tyneside – will get under way in the 2016-17 term.
Former Sunderland AFC defender Martin Scott, who created Improtech, said: “We are delighted to be given the challenge of making the best of emerging young players on Tyneside.
“Players like Newcastle United’s Steven Taylor and before him Michael Bridges, who played for both Sunderland and Newcastle, have come through Monkseaton’s school doors.
“And we want to ensure the next generation of young footballers from the region have an even greater chance of success.
“Talent that might have slipped through the net will now have a better chance of being spotted and developed through Monkseaton High.”
Improtech Soccer was launched at Houghton Kepier School on Wearside in 2011, becoming the first dedicated Football Academy in the country.
Now in its fourth year, it has already begun delivering a steady stream of players to professional clubs with the Academies of Newcastle United, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool all taking on pupils.
Earlier this year, four pupils from Kepier signed for north east professional clubs in the space of three weeks.
Scott, who holds the UEFA Pro Licence, the highest coaching qualification in football, said: “Our vision is that every region in the north east will have an Improtech School they can go to near them in the next few years which will maximise their life chances of becoming a professional footballer.
“We have Kepier covering the Wearside area and now I’m delighted to move that expertise into Tyneside with Monkseaton.
“Football is what Improtech is all about but it’s important to mention that we also stress to the pupils the need for them to work on their academic studies too.”
He added: “All our coaching staff are of the highest standards and we use specially designed lessons, drills and equipment to bring the players on.
“We’re proud of what we’ve achieved on Wearside over the last few years and we’re all really looking forward to doing the same in Tyneside now through Monkseaton High School.
A free Improtech session for young players of all ages and abilities, from five upwards is to be held on the 4G facilities next to the Foxhunters Pub in Monkseaton on January 11, from 5.50pm to 7pm.
More information about Improtech can be found on the website www.improtechsoccer.com. Regular updates are also given on Twitter @ImprotechElite.