Loughgall team up with Huddersfield Town to nurture young talent

Pictured at yesterday's signing of the partnership between Loughgall and Huddersfield at the John Smith Stadium are (front row, l-r) Huddersfield academy manager Emyr Humphries and Loughgall youth development manager David Johnstone; (back row, l-r) Loughgall Youth chairman James Johnston, Loughgall Youth vice-chair Ernie Smyth, Loughgall chairman Sam Nicholson, Loughgall manager Dean Smith and Loughgall Youth committee member Denver Calvin
Pádraig Ó Meiscill

LOUGHGALL Football Club last night announced a partnership with English Football League Championship side Huddersfield Town, which will focus on the area of youth development.

Six representatives of the north Armagh club travelled to Huddersfield yesterday to sign the formal agreement, meet staff members at the former Premier League club and were guests at last night's Championship clash with Preston North End at the John Smith Stadium.

The partnership will encompass players from youth sides right up to the first team and will include regular trips to and from each club by coaches, player trials, friendly fixtures, possible player loan agreements and a special group for young emerging talent which will be managed and developed by the staff at the Huddersfield academy.

Loughgall have a reputation for producing young talent, including Northern Ireland internationals Luke McCullough and Ryan McGivern and current first team manager Dean Smith says the agreement shows the commitment of the club to continue that work in the future.

“I believe this partnership demonstrates the ambitions we have as a football club and shows our commitment to ensuring there's a clear pathway for our players to fulfil their full potential if good enough,” the Loughgall boss said.

“To be able to see up close how a top full-time professional club operates, visit their training ground and meet their staff can only be good for us as a club.”

The academy manager at Huddersfield Emyr Humphries said they shared a philosophy with Loughgall.

“As a club and an academy, we are always striving to be better and searching for innovative ways to develop,” Humphries said.

“Over the last six months, we have been actively looking for enthusiastic partner clubs to expand our recruitment network and our long term recruitment strategy. It was very clear from our early conversations with the people at Loughgall that we shared very similar values and philosophies on the way to develop players.

“Our main aim from this partnership is to provide a clear pathway for the most ambitious and hard-working young players in Northern Ireland to come over to England and be successful. In order to achieve this, we will be working closely with the staff at Loughgall to ensure that the children within their academy get a taste of what life is like at a full-time academy in England.”

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