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Oxford City announce major academy merger to build better pathway

Oxford City youth

Oxford City have launched a new academy set-up to boost the pathways available to youngsters coming through the National League South club.

The Hoops are merging their junior academy set-ups with Ignite Sport UK for season 2020/21 and beyond following a strategic review of operations with their official education and community partner.

Announced this week as officials at Court Place Farm prepare for the return of football, the move will see coaching support, management and administration of all Oxford City FC junior and youth teams provided by Ignite Sport UK.

New video technology is also being introduced into the academy as part of the investment to enable player analysis across all age groups and support overall professional development.

Oxford City’s director of football Justin Merritt said: “Having everyone play for our flagship club will improve overall identity and strengthen our junior pathway programmes.

“Ignite will provide the structure around delivery, coaching and administration which will provide a professional system. Together this will create a clearer structure that will benefit everyone and create an environment in which coaches and players can achieve even better outcomes.”

Academy head Mickey Lewis said: “This is a logical and significant step forward for City and Ignite and will result in greater results for everyone.

“We are excited about the future; this will enable us toprovide better coaching and provide young players with a real opportunity for progression. The aim is to see even more academy graduates represent the Oxford City first team.”

Ignite Sport UK is a registered training provider for sport and education qualifications, working in further education, apprenticeships, and adult education.

Current Oxford City players Zac McEachran, Ben Barratt and Craig Fasanmade, and assistant manager Andy Ballard are all graduates of the academy.

Former New Zealand U23 coach Des Buckingham, Forest Green Rovers’ Udoka Godwin-Malife and Reading’s Garath McCleary are also graduates.

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Images courtesy of The Non-League Paper & @OxCityFC/Twitter


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