Phoenix Look To The Future

The Wellington Phoenix continue to look to the future with the announcement today of the launch of the Wellington Phoenix Youth Academy.

The Wellington Phoenix continue to look to the future with the announcement today of the launch of the Wellington Phoenix Youth Academy.

The Academy, which is a joint venture with the Phoenix- youth development partner Asia Pacific Football Academy (APFA), is targeted at students aged 13-17 and will allow the club to develop the best technical players at a crucial age.

Wellington Phoenix General Manager David Dome is excited by the new venture which he believes will give talented youngsters the best possible chance to become professional footballers.

“This is the next step in the club-s on-going development and provides a pathway for young players into our Football School of Excellence and ultimately professional football,” Dome said.

“The Academy will train and support the players in the way we do our professional side.

“Head coach Ernie Merrick will have overall control of player development and we will supply strength and conditioning, nutrition, analysis and mental preparation programmes similar to those we provide to our senior players.

“It will all be based on a solid education foundation and will incorporate a residential component.

“We have already discussed with New Zealand Football and Capital Football how we will work with them on this initiative.

“There will be on-going detailed discussions with a number of interested parties from around the country but it-s been extremely positive to date with all parties very keen to have a coordinated and integrated approach in this area.”

Scots College has been selected as the Academy-s primary partner and training base, although training will also take place throughout the Wellington region as required.

Scots College Headmaster Graeme Yule is just as enthusiastic about the synergies between the school and the Phoenix-s Academy programme.

“Scots aligns well with the Academy, both from a facility and education point of view as we both are seeking to develop well rounded young men” Yule said.

As well as developing as football players, both the domestic and overseas students will benefit of the high class educational offerings such as the IB Diploma on offer at the College and the Hodge Sports Centre is a great wet weather training option for the team”.

Attending Scots College is not a prerequisite with the Academy accepting students from schools throughout the region providing they are able to attend training sessions after school.

The Academy will work with each student individually to select the best education partner as well as the best residential option for students form outside Wellington.

Academy training sessions will be held each day throughout the school term as well as one day during weekends. There will also be a series of weekly programmes and camps for players looking to enhance their development or trial for the Academy.

Initially the Academy will be for boys only with work on a companion girls programme to begin in early 2014.

Admission to the Academy's full-time programme will be by selection and further details on this will be announced soon.