Former Boro goalkeeper Andy Collett has partnered with Middlesbrough College to launch a new Elite Post-16 Football Academy.
And he’s announced bold ambitions to develop some of the best players on Teesside.
Andy – who started his career at Ayresome Park in 1990 before moving on to Bristol Rovers – has taken over from former Boro midfielder Neil Maddison, who re-joined the club as Academy Ambassador earlier this year.
Andy, from Stockton, said: “It’s a great time to be joining Middlesbrough College Football Academy, and I’m excited to be leading it on to future success.
“Premier Player is known within the area for providing high quality football coaching and now we can continue the pathway on to age 18 through our partnership with the College.
“We want to make the elite post-16 football course the go-to place for young people who want to play high level football while they study.”
Joining Andy at the college is former Boro midfielder Phil Stamp, who will work day-to-day with the footballers.
Phil said: “I was fortunate enough to become a professional footballer at my home town club Middlesbrough and played in the same team as Ravanelli and Juninho and I want to pass some of my knowledge and experience onto the young players attending the Academy."
The Elite Post-16 Football Academy offers students the chance to play football alongside their normal studies and includes up to nine hours coaching per week, strength and conditioning training, performance analysis work, nutritional advice and support towards achieving coaching qualifications.
Andy added: “The Academy will be a place for elite footballers with the discipline, focus and commitment to being the best they can be.
“There are so many talented young footballers who aren’t spotted or are late developers and with high level training from other top players we can help them play at the highest level their ability allows.
“Just look at MFC first team, both Jordan Hugill and Lewis Wing were playing in the Northern League and working until they were resigned aged 19.
“To make it pro is extremely difficult but there are some fantastic jobs in sport that we can help students gain the right qualifications for – jobs such as physiotherapists, sports analysts, nutritionists, teachers and coaches.
“We also have excellent links to elite sports camps and institutions in the US, and we’ll help students take advantage of those fantastic opportunities.”
Middlesbrough College Football Academy trains 16-19 year-olds alongside their full time studies, giving students access to state-of-the-art equipment and environments.