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Barnet Centre of Excellence given category two academy status under the Elite Player Performance Plan
12:34pm Wednesday 27th June 2012 in Sport
Barnet’s Centre of Excellence has been named a Category Two Academy under the new shake-up of youth football across the UK.
The Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), which is supported by both the Premier and Football League, will see youth academies restructured and ranked from category four up to one.
The ultimate goal of the reformation will be the development of better youth players for first team and, eventually, national football.
The Bees have invested heavily into the project making sure that any footballer under the age of 18 will receive some of the best facilities available to them.
At Barnet young players will also spend longer with their coaches with contact time for the under-16s increasing from eight hours a week to 12. This will be a common theme throughout the different age groups.
With areas including coaching, sports science and medicine, scouting and talent identification, and education and welfare, more jobs will be created at the Hive as the club have to quadruple the number of staff and coaches at their training facility.
James Thorne, head of Barnet’s Centre of Excellence, said: “This is a major step forward in the development of the Youth Department.
"By signalling our intention to become a Category Two Academy we are showing a huge commitment to our young players, staff and all the people associated with Barnet.
"We are fully committed to producing players for the future of this Club and have a fantastic platform with the Hive and our new Academy status to help achieve this.”
He continued: “It has taken major investment and an extraordinary amount of hard work and planning to get to this stage, however, this is only the start of what we hope will be a period of continued growth and improvement both on and off the pitch for the Academy and the club.”
As well as altering coaching, there is expected to be a change in the structure of youth football leagues.
As part of the Premier League’s ‘Improved Games Programmes’, the Bees are able to field an Under-21 side across the season against similar level academies, regardless of what division the first team is in.