FA give Jersey’s future stars a boost with choice of trials

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THE Jersey Football Association has been boosted by news that could have a profound impact on the Island stars of tomorrow.

After discussions with the Premier and English Football leagues, the JFA has announced that promising young boys and girls from Jersey will be eligible to take part in trials with a variety of professional clubs from the age of 12.

The new ruling stipulates that players from the age of 12 are granted air travel time of one hour, plus an extra hour’s travel from the airport.

Under the previous rules, trialists from the Channel Islands under the age of 14 could travel only to category one clubs on the south coast, which restricted opportunities due to limited travel options and the volume of clubs that matched the given criteria.

In the midst of the rule change, the JFA has rebranded the Centre of Excellence as the Jersey FA Performance Centre, to reflect its role in the player pathway.

The centre has seen staggering success of late, with the development of players such as Luke Harris, Callum Osmand and Luca Picotto.

Paul Renton, Jersey FA Performance Centre manager, said: ‘It’s a huge step in the right direction for us.

‘The discussions go back to before the pandemic and have taken an awful lot of effort behind the scenes from Dave [Kennedy] and Brian [Oliver].

‘As an Island, the position we are in with player development is stronger than ever and this news should give the youngsters plenty of motivation to work hard.

‘They have the likes of Luke Harris to look up to already and he has reached this level without the benefit of the new rule.

‘It is a very exciting time for football in Jersey and this is another way where we can look to continue improving and providing these kids with the platform to achieve their aspirations.

David Kennedy, chief executive of the JFA, has long been an advocate of seeking opportunities for the association to evolve.

He said: ‘This is a significant development for the Island’s most talented players.

‘Opening up these opportunities will mean that players will have more of a chance to experience football at differing levels, as well as have a greater chance to be registered with a professional club academy.

‘In the past, we have seen players attend a trial at a south-coast club which may not have worked out for them, and their opportunities after that have significantly reduced.

‘This development allows us to now consider some strategic partnerships with key clubs in England within the new travel guidance.’

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