Jersey FA seek new path to pro football

Football | Published:

EXETER CITY could soon act as an official outlet for Island players chasing careers in professional football, following a visit by the League Two club to assess Jersey’s strengths.

Jake Prince scored for Jersey U21s in a 1-1 draw with Northern Ireland Schoolboys on Monday. The sides meet again at Springfield this evening for the Lynne Nicholson Memorial Trophy Picture: JON GUEGAN (23809889)

Staff from the fourth-tier promotion hopefuls, including chairman Julian Tagg, travelled to Springfield on Monday night as part of early investigations into formal links with the Jersey FA and expressed interest in acting as regular recruiters of stranded Caesarean talent.

They also suggested the club’s first team could make the journey across the Channel for pre-season training and friendlies with Island sides.

Speaking ahead of Jersey under-21s’ opening game against Northern Ireland Schoolboys on Monday, which finished level at 1-1, Tagg said: ‘There is a lot of good work going on here, there’s an excellent Centre of Excellence with good players who are not getting an opportunity because they’re hindered by where they live.

‘Players here have got high aspirations and we’re known for bringing the odd player through.

‘There is a considerable amount of originality here, with a lot of intent, purpose and good work. Because of the location it makes it difficult, so everyone has to go the extra mile, working harder to make it work. But sometimes that’s the fun of it ... if there’s a will then there’s a good opportunity.

‘We’ve listened to what has been said here by the Jersey FA and we’ll go away and look at a short-term plan, to see what we can do immediately. We will also look at a medium- and long-term plan and see how we can help with the structure, so it isn’t then so much of a gamble [for young players moving to the mainland].’

Exeter’s academy operations manager Arran Pugh said: ‘We’re always looking for opportunities to look at young players in the Exeter area, but this allows us to broaden our horizons a little bit and we’re looking for potential links with organisations that could be positive for Exeter.'

Jake Prince handed Jersey a first-half lead against Northern Ireland’s U18s on Monday, heading home from a set-piece, but the visitors avoided their first defeat in a decade’s-worth of trips through Lewis McGarvey’s 75th-minute equaliser.

Jason Fox

By Jason Fox

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