Bradford City Community Foundation has this year launched a shadow scholarship programme – aimed at attracting young footballing talent to the club – on top of scholarships offered within City’s academy.
The ability-based scheme is targeted at mirroring the life of a professional footballer, with chosen scholars training four times a week, playing games on a Wednesday.
The side will compete in the National Football Youth League against a high standard of opposition, including teams from Premier League clubs Manchester City, Everton and Newcastle United.
In addition to the football programme, the scholars will study towards a BTEC Higher National Diploma in Sport.
Lead coach Craig Farrand, who has previously worked within City’s academy, said: “The shadow scholarship programme sits in line with our normal scholarship programme aimed at BTEC students.
“However, the lads in the shadow scholarship group are chosen based on their ability, and are those still in with a chance of making a career in professional football.
“We wanted something to sit behind and aid the academy scholarships if possible. We can provide players with a good, quality training schedule as well as very competitive matches.
“It is in the club’s best interest, because different players develop at different speeds and ages.
“We have already offered a number of scholarships - largely to under 16 players from the club’s Elite Development Squad - but are always looking to add more.”
Speaking on the matches, Farrand’s assistant Adam Fox said: “The shadow scholarship team will play in the National Football Youth League, the highest standard of league for this form of scholarship.
“The league consists of shadow youth teams and so, by its nature, the players are of a very good calibre. This season will provide a brilliant test for our lads.
“The facilities are excellent, with many clubs playing games and training at their first team training base.”
For more information on the programme please contact Craig Farrand (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Adam Fox (email@example.com).