AFC DUNSTABLE JOIN THE SLFA

AFC Dunstable are delighted to announced that they have joined the Southern League Football Academy (SLFA) – the brand new education and football academy of the Evo-Stik South.

An Education and Football Academy side for 16-18 year olds will be created at AFC Dunstable and play in the SLFA with opportunities to play in the FA Youth Cup from September 2019.

The SLFA is the sister programme of the impressive NPL Football Academy (NPLFA) for fellow step seven league – The Evo-Stik Northern Premier League – and we are now on the lookout for talented and committed young footballers who are eager to take their first steps to a career in the semi-professional game and more importantly study to earn educational qualifications.

The AFC Dunstable Academy is a full-time course which is an alternative to college where students will study for a BTEC in Sport at Level 2 or Level 3 (Diploma and Extended Diploma available which is the equivalent to two/three A Levels) which will be delivered by a tutor in the mornings before a UEFA qualified football coach will train the students in the afternoons as well as manage the side on Wednesday afternoons against fellow SLFA sides such as Frome Town, Chesham United and Swindon Supermarine. All games will take place at the main grounds of all the Evo-Stik South clubs involved and filmed for analysis with the weekly highlights show that is published every Friday evening.

It’s sister programme – the NPLFA – has been a huge success on and off the pitch with over 750 students enrolling over the past four years and many of those progressing onto university, scholarships in the US, the programmes own sports degree course or employment and as of October 2018, fifty students have progressed to their respective first teams with two students progressing to the professional game and that success will now be implemented in the South.

By being a part of AFC Dunstable, there are genuine pathways to play for the first team and with the football programme being held between Monday and Friday, students will still be able to play for their local junior sides at the weekend.

Dave Lawlor, Vice Chairman & Head of Football Development commented “Since the club set out on the FA Charter Standard route back in 2004, when we achieved the ultimate accolade of a FA Charter Standard Community Club in 2008, we have work extremely hard to consolidate the accreditation since then. As one of only four clubs in the county of Bedfordshire to hold this highest award achievable, we have been looking at setting up an education programme.

“We have looked at numerous programmes for many years and now feel we have found the perfect programme with the Southern League Football Academy. We have kept a close eye on the sister programme in the North of England namely the Northern Premier League Football Academy and what a fantastic success it has been. With the company expanding into the South, we feel we have made the correct decision and are excited to see our club evolve to the next stage and the partnership between AFC Dunstable and the SLFA will be a resounding success”

Manager Steve Heath commented“When I joined AFC Dunstable back in 2013, I was extremely impressed with the club’s structure, seeing teams run from the age of six up to the 1st team. Over the years, the clubs committee have strived to continue to support the local community and it is no surprise to me that an educational programme would be introduced. I have been involved over recent times working with the club to find the ideal programme and without doubt seeing the success of the NPLFA, I am confident the SLFA will follow suit. With the club having 25 youth teams, the pathway is set in place for 16-18-year olds, as our Under 18’s compete in the Southern Counties Floodlit League & the FA Youth Cup. The next stage of players progression is our U21 team then the 1stteam.  Currently I have three Under 18 players who have progressed through our youth system to the 1stteam and I will be hopeful and confident that students from the SLFA will follow suit”

There are a maximum of twenty-two places available for the AFC Dunstable Academy with trials to be arranged in October 2018, December 2018, February 2019, April 2019 and May 2019.

The first trial will take place on FRIDAY 26TH OCTOBER, from 3PM – 4.30PM at CREASEY PARK COMMUNITY FOOTBALL CENTRE, CREASEY PARK DRIVE, DUNSTABLE, LU6 1BB.

Trialists will need to bring full training kit (your own), shin pads, boots suitable for 3G surface, trainers for the gym and a drink.

To register your interest in the Academy, please complete the application form HERE.