Trips across the globe and working with Premier League football coaches are just some of the perks that could be coming to a new academy in Preston, backed by a Liverpool Football Club legend.
The Jamie Carragher Football Academy is hoping to branch out into Preston and the director of the company revealed more on the plans as he came to visit the proposed site.
The academy is set to team up with multi-million pound business Rhodi Clothing, on Mercer Street, Fishwick, and its owner Asif Patel, to create a state-of-the-art sports academy for 16-19 year-olds.
Planning applications are yet to be submitted, but initial drawings show how a storage unit owned by the clothing company could be turned into two seven-a-side pitches, one 3G and one multi-use, a full-size gym, an indoor sports assault course, as well as teaching classrooms.
Paul Olsen, director of the academy as well as being a coach for Everton FC under-13s team, said: “We have a very successful academy in Brunswick and we want to replicate that in Preston. We wanted to expand and we were approached by Rhodi to convert one of its storage units. If we get planning permission we hope to have our first intake of students in September 2017. The facilities wouldn’t just be for the students at the academy, we would invite local schools in for coaching sessions as well as opening up the pitches to other groups. We also want to create a football team which we hope would include players from across Lancashire who don’t have to be anything to do with the academy.”
Brunswick in Liverpool was the site for the first academy and Mr Olsen says it hopes to branch out to countries such as Norway, Fiji and Wales in the near future.
The academy offers the chance to study a BTEC level two or three, the equivalent of three A Levels, in a variety of sports courses as well as playing football to a semi-professional standard.
Entry levels will be flexible with around 20 students being taken on in the first year, if the project gets the go-ahead.
Mr Olsen said: “We want to start small and get everything in place and then once we’ve done the first year we can look at expanding. There’s plenty of room to do so and we want to be able to provide something that is a huge benefit to the whole community. I think we offer something no one else does in Preston. Our students have gone on to jobs working at other academies across the world, in sports clubs or gained the qualifications they need to go to university.
Jamie (Carragher) comes down at least once a month and is a real role model for the students. Hopefully we’ll be able to fully release our plans once planning permission is granted.”