In the summer of 2012, AFC Rushden & Diamonds announced the formation of their brand new Academy set-up with teams to play in the Junior Premier League in the 2012/13 season. A series of trials were held shortly afterwards to help establish the initial teams. The Academy has gone from strength to strength in the following seasons, and is now managed by Gareth Ivett.
The Academy Manager works with the Senior Team Manager to ensure that the Academy Teams are well integrated with the club as a whole, with references to both the Senior team and U21 teams as well as the Community Teams.
For the 2014-15 season the integration of the U18 Academy side with the remainder of the U18 structure at the club was facilitated by a partnership with the Malcolm Arnold Academy, sponsored by the David Ross Education Trust, in Northampton, to provide quality post-16 education alongside a structured football education programme. They will play in the English Colleges Football Association East Midlands League Category 2B in the 2014/15 season. They will play games in this competition on Wednesdays, and home games are expected to be played at the Dog & Duck, with kick-off times to be confirmed. You can find details of fixtures / stats etc on the ECFA Website here, as well as in the U18s section of this website under the “Teams” heading.
Darren Purse was appointed as the Head Coach for the MAA course for the 2014-15 season. Darren is a double UEFA A licensed coach and an ex-professional player, having played for Leyton Orient, Oxford Utd, Birmingham City, WBA, Cardiff City, Sheffield Wednesday, Millwall, Plymouth Argyle and Port Vale. Darren will be fully responsible for the scholars’ development and will be continuing the DRET vision for sporting excellence. The Malcolm Arnold Academy in Northampton www.malcolmarnoldacademy.co.uk is sponsored by the David Ross Education Trust www.dret.co.uk
Academy Teams in the U21 to U16 age groups will continue to play in the Junior Premier League. The JPL is an FA Respect league and promotes a high standard of junior football and contains a number of high-profile clubs including Arsenal, West Brom, Reading, Walsall, Burton Albion, Cheltenham Town, Kidderminster Harriers, Hereford United, Forest Green Rovers and more. For more information see http://junior-premier.co.uk/
The JPL has introduced a new approach to planning games for their member clubs for the 2014-15 season – for details see here.
As a result, the fixture details for the various academy teams in the U12-U16 age groups are as follows:-
- AFC R&D U12 Academy side fixtures are here.
- AFC R&D U13 Academy side fixtures are here.
- AFC R&D U14 Academy side fixtures are here.
- AFC R&D U15 Academy side fixtures are here.
- AFC R&D U16 Academy side fixtures are here.
Training is on Tuesdays and Thursday at 6pm at Tower Sports Ground, Finedon (with astroturf sessions at Raunds Manor School during the winter months) and U12-U16 games are typically played on Saturday mornings at 10:30am.