SAY HELLO TO THE ISTHMIAN LEAGUE FOOTBALL ACADEMY
The Bostik Football League is delighted to announce, the creation of its very own education and football programme, the Isthmian League Football Academy (ILFA) which will commence in September 2020.
Partnering with Eliteform who are the organisation behind the NPL Football Academy (NPLFA) – the first of its kind in the UK when created in 2014 – and the Southern League Football Academy they will be bringing their expertise and experience to the region to create the Bostik League’s very own education and football programme for its member clubs.
The formation of the Isthmian League Football Academy means that all three leagues at Steps 3 and 4 of the English National League System will now have a league wide education and football academy, created and managed by ESPFA Students aged between 16-18 will have the opportunity to study for a BTEC in Sport Level 3 (Diploma and Extended Diploma available) or an NVQ Level 2 in the mornings and train with a UEFA qualified coach in the afternoons three days a week whilst representing their local ILFA club in the ILFA league and cup which take places on Wednesday afternoons.
The two-year programme is open to anyone who meets the grades requirements and trials will be held from September 2019 to fill the maximum of twenty-two places available at each club. There are many pathways from the programme, in the NPLFA off the pitch many students have progressed to higher education such as UK university, US scholarships and the programmes own Degree Course in Sports Business and Sports Management which will be replicated in the ILFA. On the pitch, students will have the opportunity to progress to the first teams of their respective clubs which at the time stands at forty-two football graduates in the NPLFA with a further four going on to earn professional contracts with EFL clubs.
Isthmian League Football League chairman Nick Robinson on the news “I am delighted that we have reached this stage; we have working with Eliteform over the last fifteen months to make sure that the product is what our Clubs want and over 50 Clubs showed an interest in the Academy at the last AGM. I want to thank Darren and Kevin of Eliteform for their commitment to the project”
An ESPFA spokesman was equally delighted at the news “We are yet again proud to partner with another league with an excellent reputation that is home to many wonderful member clubs. With the creation of the Isthmian League Football Academy, it enables us to bring our fantastic concept to a national audience with all three step-seven regions having a league wide education and football programme which is incredibly exciting for not only ourselves but all the clubs, staff and students involved.”
An ESPFA spokesman added “What we offer is unique to any other programme out there, be it at a local college, at a football club or a private company and with the experience and expertise we have gained over the past five years in the NPLFA, seeing the programme grow from five clubs and 75 students to seventeen clubs and 320+ students, we are confident and looking forward to creating another programme in the South of England.”
Whilst there are many education and football programmes out there, the ILFA will offer something unique to add to the experience of the students during their two years with the programme, whether that is playing in only the third FA sanctioned league of this type (after the NPLFA and SLFA) to the many fantastic pathways both on and off the pitch.
Discussions with Isthmian League clubs are currently ongoing and an announcement of the inaugural members will be announced on the following sites and the Isthmian League’s official website soon.