Young Footballers Can Try Out For Professional Clubs

Jersey's promising young players will now be able to go to trials with a variety of professional clubs from the age of 12.

Jersey FA has been in talks with the Premier League and the English Football League to change the rules for the island's young footballers.

Previously, under 14s were only allowed to train with Category 1 clubs on England's south coast,.

That restriction has been scrapped so that triallists over the age 12s can now travel an hour by plane and an extra hour from the airport.

David Kennedy, Jersey FA CEO, says this is a significant development for the island's most talented players.

"Opening up these opportunities will mean that players will have more of a chance to experience football at differing levels, as well as have a greater chance to be registered with a Professional Club Academy."

He told Channel 103 he expected it to mean more scouts coming to the island:

"This will open Jersey up to a lot of attention because the rules are going to be promoted up and down the Premier League and in English football. 

We'll probably see a lot more people coming to the island just to cast an eye over some our youngsters."

Mr Kennedy stressed that the JFA will be working with the clubs to make sure that process is coordinated:

"It is our job as an association to develop those partnerships and make sure the experience (is there) for our players, and really the opportunity to get a contract with an academy is much, much greater."

In the past, some families who have believed their child could make it as a footballer have moved to the UK to get around the restrictions.  Others who've been on trial at the south coast clubs but for whole things did not work out have then had to wait until they turned 14 for further opportunities.

Jersey FA has rebranded its Centre of Excellence to the Jersey FA Performance Centre.

This is so the role of the centre can show how successful it has been, especially with the development of players including Fulham's Luke Harris, Callum Osmand and Luca Picotto.

Paul Renton, Jersey FA Performance Centre Manager, says each year there is an increased interest from professional clubs of players across all our age group.

"Having seen Luke breakthrough to the first team at Fulham shows our pathway is working, we can now consolidate that with the new ruling and hopefully see more players like him make the grade."

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