Newcastle Benfield FC are delighted to announce their new partnership with Newcastle Elite Academy. This vital new partnership comes as a huge positive to both parties, in terms of successful youth development and a clear pathway for talented players in the area.
The NEA, affiliated with Northumbria University, provides talented players between the U17 and U19 categories the opportunity to work under a high-quality football programme, mirroring that of a professional environment, as well as studying qualifications in sport, leading to university education and careers in the game.
NEA directors and Newcastle United players Dwight Gayle, Rob Elliot, Matt Ritchie, Mike Williamson and Paul Dummett had only positive words to say about the vital link that the NEA has made with Newcastle Benfield FC. All have committed their time and effort to providing the ultimate experience for those players involved, offering their experience and advice to the players both on and off the pitch, as well as offering achievable opportunities, leading to professional and semi-professional careers, scholarships, industry specific careers and higher education opportunities as well.
Newcastle Benfield FC will now be represented by the NEA in the National League U19's Alliance League, during the 2020/21 season, and matches will be played on Wednesday afternoons at Sam Smith's Park. The team will face several youth teams, fielded by clubs across steps 5-7 of the non-league pyramid. In addition, Benfield will field teams in the FA Youth Cup and in local U18s Saturday League competitions, in conjunction with the NEA. This will help to achieve a clear and structured youth setup across such age groups.
These newly formed U18 and U19 squads for Benfield will help to provide an exciting and successful system for younger players, offering a clear pathway for players to break into the first team. For Benfield, it is a very exciting opportunity for the club to continue to produce their own talent going forward in the future.
NEA Director Rob Elliot said:
“We are delighted to finally announce our partnership with Newcastle Benfield FC. Ever since the start of our full-time football programme in 2018, one of our goals from the outset was to set up a link with a local non-league football club providing a clear pathway into semi-professional football for our student athletes. Hopefully, as time goes on we can help produce players who will make an impact on the club’s first team helping there pursuit of moving up the pyramid.”
Paul Dummett, another one of the directors of the academy also commented:
“The opportunity to represent the club in the national league U19’s alliance is a brilliant progression for the academy providing a great challenge for our student athletes, which comes at a perfect time alongside offering our brand new year 14 education programme for September. This offers our U19’s the opportunity to train everyday with a flexible education timetable, essentially training like professionals and providing a fantastic opportunity for them to really develop in the next 12 months in their transition from youth to senior football.”
NEA Director Dwight Gayle, also commented:
“It’s a great opportunity to work alongside Benfield, it’s vital that the boys are given the best opportunities to develop and showcase their abilities at levels that help with their progression as players. It’s ideal for the academy to be tested in the FA Youth Cup for the coming years so that they can excel to their full potential as well as an indicator of what levels they need to be at to succeed. The bridge given to us by this partnership feels like another positive step towards helping the community prevent quality players dropping out of football as it allows players that bit extra time to develop as we see so regularly people developing at different ages.”
The other NEA Director, Mike Williamson, also commented:
“Many talented local youngsters can lose their when leaving youth football especially when transitioning into senior and semi professional football, this partnership will held bridges the gap for our student athletes. We work hard to create the best opportunities for them to pursue various footballing avenues whether that’s professional or semi professional levels or UK and USA scholarships and this is another example of this.”