Hartlepool football academy to start recruiting

Martin Scott, Stephen Hammond, James Martin and Antony Sweeney.
Martin Scott, Stephen Hammond, James Martin and Antony Sweeney.

A first recruitment session for a new elite football academy in Hartlepool will be held tomorrow.

The session, at Hartlepool’s English Martyrs School, is for current Year Six pupils who will be going into Year Seven this September.

In the next few years we’re determined to develop a reputation as the ‘go-to’ school for talented players who want to make the very best of their abilities, both in education and football

Stephen Hammond, head of English Martyrs

It will be held on the school’s premises, in Catcote Road, from 4.30 to 6pm with training played on grass and potential recruits asked to bring a match kit and report to reception.

The new elite academy – run by Improtech Soccer, which also runs academies at Kepier, Houghton and Sunderland College – will devote a substantial part of the time-table to football as the school looks to develop potential professional footballers of the future.

It officially opens its doors in September with a minimum intake of 16 .

Stephen Hammond, headteacher of English Martyrs, said: “In the next few years we’re determined to develop a reputation as the ‘go-to’ school for talented players who want to make the very best of their abilities, both in education and football.”

Improtech Soccer managing director and former Premier League player Martin Scott, who will take the coaching session, said: “In the last few years we have had Improtech students go on to sign for Sunderland, Newcastle United, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool, and now that we are at Martyrs we’re excited about trying to find the best young players in a whole new catchment area.”

Two successful Improtech graduates are playing for Hartlepool United – James Martin and Kenton Richardson.

Hartlepool United’s youth team coach Antony Sweeney said the new academy can only benefit the town.