A BRIGHT new future nurturing local talent is envisaged as Newry City AFC launch their new Academy in time for the 2019/20 season.
Behind the scenes, Academy Manager Martin McGuigan has been working with the Northern Ireland Football League to establish Newry City AFC as part of their Development Leagues and 19/20 will witness a new era in the history of the club when they will have two teams competing at the highest level in the NIFL Academy League with teams entered at both at U16 and U18 levels.
It is the word Development which is most important to the Academy Manager as he sees participation in these teams as stepping stones in a player’s career.
“Development is the word that is very important to me as Academy Manager,” said McGuigan.
“With NIFL support and ongoing assessments we will have the means to develop both Newry City AFC as a club and also its Academy teams, setting standards and disciplines to help progress players into our first team and further if possible.
“I am also focused on coach education with an aspiration to develop our coaches to be at the highest level.
“We will be judged by setting and maintaining professional standards at the club and most importantly we will be given time to do so.
“The coming season will start a five-year strategic plan to gradually raise the standard on and off the pitch for our players.
“To make sure we have the best possible chance to achieve this I have focussed on the recruitment of our coaches.
“This was a very hard process to find the right people and I’m delighted to say I believe I have done so.
“Each member of our coaching staff for U16 and U18 teams arrives with vast amount of playing and coaching experience and most importantly are local people who have a history with football at The Showgrounds.
“Through myself and the coaching staff, Paddy Lundy, Chris Coffey, Simon Nicks, Conor Larkin, Damian McCorry, Gerry Keenan and Niall McCann with some more to be finalised and of course Darren Mullen, we will strive to create a player pathway from our Academy teams to our first team and have now created links to Northern Ireland International schoolboys and youth football.
“We also have established pathways to English clubs which will be an added bonus for our players at Newry City AFC.
“We are looking for players who are not only technically good but have a good attitude, are prepared to work hard and have a desire to develop themselves both as a person and as a player on and off the pitch.
“To be accredited as an Academy we have targets to set and maintain which will be audited annually by the IFA.
“Our job is clearly not going to be an easy one, and that’s why together our team will be working hard in the background to achieve our goals.”
The building for next season will start with Under 18 (Players born 2002/03) trials at The Showgrounds on May 7 and 8, players to arrive for 6.30pm registration.
On May 13 and 15, it will be Under 16 (Players born 2004/05) trials at The Showgrounds, players to arrive for 6.30pm registration.
Any player who would like to take part in our trials for both U16 and U18 Squads should email the club at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following details: Name, Date of Birth, position & any previous club(s).
Players must arrive in their own kit with whatever essentials they require. You will be met by members of the coaching staff and directed to the changing rooms.
The club will then email players selected after these trials to play in a final game day, U16s v U18s for final squad selection.
Final selection Game Day: Monday, May 20, at 7.30pm.
Newry City AFC U16 Coaches:
- Ex Newry City Player.
- Played Professionally with Arsenal FC and Crewe Alexandra FC.
- Northern Ireland Youth international caps at U14, U15, U16, U18, U21s also played in N.Ireland 'B' international squad.
- Played Irish League with Lisburn Distillery FC.
- Coaching experience with English FA and presently doing B Licence at Newry City AFC.
- Ex Newry Town player.
- Playing career started with Hereford in the Carnbane League.
- He had offers to Sign at Celtic, QPR, Watford, Ipswich, Man United, and Nottingham Forest.
- Signed for Nottingham Forest as a 14-year-old.
- Turned Professional at 17-years-old.
- Professional career in England cut short through knee injury at 18-years-old.
- International caps for Northern Ireland at U15 and U18 level.
- Played Senior Irish League at Newry Town FC.
- Played Senior League of Ireland at Dundalk FC.
- Coached at youth level with Newry City FC and also in Local football.
- Studied Sport Coaching / Development and managed Manchester Metropolitan University 1st team.
- Performance Analyst at Crewe Alexandra FC Academy.
- Coached at Nantwich Town FC (Semi-Pro) community programme (2018).
- Coached with Respect Project Newry Youth Group.
- Coached and played in Senior Carnbane League and worked with disability athletes.
- Ex Newry Town player.
- Has vast experience playing locally with Hereford, Rockview Rangers, Rathfriland - winning numerous league and cup titles.
- Experienced Referee in Mid-Ulster and Carnbane League. Recently been assisting the U20s Coaching team and a life-long supporter of the club.
Newry City AFC U18 Coaches:
- Ex Newry Town Player.
- Northern Ireland U18 Schoolboys Head Coach.
- Played for Luton Town FC and Non League football in England.
- Played for Armagh City FC and Banbridge Town FC.
- Coached at National League level over this last 10 years with local clubs.
- 15 years as Head of PE at a Local School.
- Ex Newry Town Player.
- At youth level played locally with St Brigids FC and Barcroft FC.
- Made his Irish League Senior debut at 16 for Glenavon FC.
- Trialled for Man City, Middlesbrough and Preston North End.
- Played at U14 and U16 level in the Milk Cup for Armagh - awarded player of the tournament.
- Experienced playing at Banbridge and Rathfriland and also as Player/Manager winning a number of titles.
- Northern Ireland International youth caps at both U17 and U18 levels.
First Team and Academy Goalkeeping Coach:
- Ex Newry Town Goalkeeper.
- Current Newry City AFC Senior goalkeeping coach.
- Current Northern Ireland Women’s Senior International goalkeeping coach.
- Cliftonville FC Senior goalkeeping coach.
- NI School-boys goalkeeping coach.
- IFA County Performance goalkeeping coach.
- Co Down Milk-cup goalkeeping coach.
- Newry Town youth team & reserve team manager.
- Played Senior League of Ireland with Monaghan Utd.
- Played Senior Irish League with Newry Town FC and Larne FC
- Also played with a number of Local Clubs at Junior and Senior Level.