Clubs in Suffolk can benefit from academy

CLUBS in Suffolk can benefit from the new Copleston Football Academy.

That’s the message from John Coupe, who is one of the two coaches running the new academy which replaces the SETEC scheme previously operated at Copleston High School.

The SETEC scheme, which was linked with Ridgeons League Premier Division club Woodbridge Town, ran for six years – three each under Peter Trevivian and Sean Thacker –before Thacker left at the end of 2010 to take up a post with Colchester United.

The best-known player to come through the scheme was Joe Francis, who is now with Lowestoft Town, while five of Suffolk’s 2008 FA County Youth Cup-winning side were coached by Thacker during his time in charge and several more graduated to Woodbridge’s first team.

The new academy is being run by Coupe and Graham Howlett, who are both part-time Academy coaches with Ipswich Town. Coupe works with the under-10s and Howlett with the under-12s.

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Coupe said the new academy had been “ticking over” since launching last September while recruiting Year 11 students for this coming September.

“We are currently running two after-school sessions a week, which is four hours’ training, which will increase as the number of students increases to hopefully three sessions a week from September.

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“There will hopefully be between 18 and 22 places on the scheme, but if the scheme grows then the number of coaches will grow as well. The headmaster, Shaun Common, is 100 per cent behind the scheme.

“We are looking to attract good standard players as we want to make it the best scheme around.”

Benefits for students involved with the Copleston Football Academy include not only the training but access to a professional strength and conditioning coach, free access to a professional sports physiotherapist when required and free membership of the school’s fitness suite.

Coupe, who for nearly ten years ran the PASE scheme linked to first Whitton United and then Needham Market, said unlike when the scheme acted as a feeder for Woodbridge Town, it could now benefit many different non-league clubs.

“We are not a football club as such – boys will train with us during the week and play for the school, but we are not tied to any one club, so potentially more clubs in Suffolk will benefit.

“The boys will get academy quality coaching and theoretically will go back to their clubs better equipped as players.

“I would love local chairmen and managers to realise what an opportunity it is for their boys.”

For more information, call the academy on 01473 277267.

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