Jake Dye and Keiran Morphew are two examples of successful Needham Market academy

Jake Dye

Jake Dye

Jake Dye and Keiran Morphew are proof of what can be done when a football academy is run correctly.

Keiran Morphew (right)

Keiran Morphew (right) - Credit: Archant

The young duo have become stalwarts in the Needham Market first-team, having both progressed through the Bloomfields ranks.

Right-back Dye has remained at the academy as a coach – his remit being to help develop the next success story at the club.

And along with the rest of the coaching team at Needham – led by the vastly-experienced and knowledgeable Steve Foley, he will have every chance of succeeding, with a new £750,000 state-of-the-art 3G pitch and facilities, which will also be open to the community, set to be built at the club

Operations and Academy director, Robert Peace, said: “We don’t promise we will make people professional footballers, but we will give people the right environment in which to develop and succeed, and the right platform to showcase their skills in front of the likes of Steve Foley who has links with Ipswich Town.

“Keiran Morphew and Jake Dye are two successes of our academy and you could say they are two of the most influential members of the Needham first-team.”

Students at the academy study a BTEC in sport, which is the equivalent of three A-levels and the club provides classrooms at the Bloomfields ground in which to study.

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“If someone comes here they have got to study,” added Peace.

“We have a link with the University of Suffolk, they guarantee our scholars and place on a degree or Masters course if they’ve done a BTEC. We can also use the university’s facilities too.”

The community café can be hired out for parties and conferences, whilst partner clubs such as Needham Phoenix and Stowupland Falcons will use the football facilities, as will Needham’s own youth teams, whose players are guaranteed a place at the academy if they want one.

The club is also looking at plans to develop a women’s academy, while Walking Football could also be introduced.

“To be successful with our application the level of demand has to be there and there has to be several teams within a certain radius that require such facilities,” Peace said.

“There is nothing like this in Mid-Suffolk.”

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