Garstang gets first of its kind football academy thanks to returning coach Dan

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A football coach has set up a much-needed grassroots football facility in Garstang fresh back from his soccer ventures Down Under.

Dan Sutcliff, a football coach for Orange Soccer, has set up a Garstang football academy to help children wanting to expand their development playing football.

“We offer external grassroots coaching that provide chances to kids from other football clubs,” the 24-year-old explained.

“Garstang has never seen anything like this before, it’s a great opportunity.”

Based at Garstang Community Academy’s sports hall, the classes offer football-crazy kids the chance to develop their skills, ball mastery, dribbling, turning, and other different types of skills that they might see on television.

Dan, who is currently a FA Level 2-trained coach, added: “As the years, days and months go on we will increase the intensity and their development.”

The arrival of the academy, which is now seven weeks old, comes as calls for greater grassroots investment are being made.

Just this month a petition to the UK Government and Parliament to impose a five per cent grassroots levy on Premier League broadcasting rights reached more than 42,000 signatures.

“I remember when I was a kid when Garstang juniors and it was set up but got neglected,” said town-native Dan, who is manager of the under-18s at Garstang Football Club.

The former Garstang High School student added: “The idea is to grow from having under-6s and under-9s classes.

“In the next two years we want to expand to under-14s, obviously depending on the interest.

“I think people are unsure about what we do. They ask if we are taking kids away from clubs but its not the case at all.

“It’s now about getting this started up.”

The academy marks a continuation of Dan’s recent adventure Down Under having just come back from coaching football in Australia.

He was running Brisbane-based grassroots football club Victoria Point Magic FC, coaching the under-5s and under-18s.

“I came back home to have a go at getting my next coaching licence which I started in August,” Dan said.

The organisation that Dan has set the academy up under, called Orange Soccer, also have soccer schools across the red rose county including Preston, Lancaster and Lytham.