Ipswich Town Academy: ‘Expanding to Haverhill was an easy decision’

EXCITING TIMES: Peter Betts will be overseeing Ipswich Towns new Academy Player Development Centre at The New Croft which begins next month
EXCITING TIMES: Peter Betts will be overseeing Ipswich Towns new Academy Player Development Centre at The New Croft which begins next month

Richard Boreham says that Ipswich Town’s decision to launch an Academy Player Development Centre in Haverhill was a ‘no-brainer’.

The SkyBet Championship club will be opening a brand new invite-only Player Development Programme at The New Croft early next month, with open trials to be held on the 3G pitch at the facility on Monday evening.

The trials are for boys in School Years 2-7 (under-7s to under-12s), including goalkeepers, and the centre will be managed and overseen by Peter Betts, the Haverhill Community Sports Association’s football development officer.

Boreham, the academy elite/PDP football development officer at Ipswich Town, said Haverhill was an ‘obvious place to go’ to expand the club’s work in youth football in East Anglia.

“I’ve known Peter Betts for years and he’s a really good guy,” Boreham explained.

“From our point-of-view, we wanted to expand and to go into a massive area like Haverhill really seemed like the obvious place to go.

“We know they’ve got a new 3G pitch, and even the grass pitch looks fantastic.

“We took our under-13s there for a semi-final and we saw how well-run it is. There was something like 200-odd teams there and it all ran like clockwork.

“They’ve got some really good people over there, and with a combination of the area as well, it gives boys in Haverhill and the district area a chance to get some professional coaching at a professional club. It was a no-brainer for us.”

The New Croft joins a growing list of centres offering Ipswich’s Player Development Programme, with the scheme already operating in several other venues across Suffolk and Essex, including Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, Sudbury, Lowestoft, Walsham-le-Willows and Tiptree.

The aim of Town’s Professional Development Programme is to spot and recruit young footballers of outstanding ability and to then coach them to help reach their highest potential.

Boreham says that this pathway has led to 25 boys signing academy contracts with the club over the last two years, a figure which he says is quite high for development centres, but is also a clear identification of how successful the scheme is.

Betts, who will be managing the centre at The New Croft, believes the programme will be an excellent opportunity for youngsters in Haverhill.

“Ipswich Town wanted to get more involved in the community and Haverhill is a great location,” he said.

“When you look at the facilities we’ve got here it ticks a box, with the 3G pitch it’s something we didn’t have previously.

“It’s a great opportunity for young players to play football and also receive excellent coaching.

“I’ll be overseeing the centre on their behalf and I’ve got previous experience of working for professional clubs.”

Monday’s trials at The New Croft will start at 6pm for School Years 2-4 (under-7s to under-9s), with School Years 5-7 (under-10s to under-12s) starting at 7pm.

Players are asked to arrive no later than half an hour before their session, and only screw in stud or moulded studs are to be used.

nTo register for the trial please email richard.boreham@itfc.co.uk headed ‘Haverhill trial’ with the player’s full name, DOB, school year, playing position and a parent’s contact details by no later than Monday morning.