ARGYLE Academy head Kevin Hodges has spoken of his sadness...
...that his former club, Torquay United, has shut down its youth set-up, and is throwing a lifeline to the Gulls’ discarded young talent.
Kevin, who had a spell coaching the United youngsters before a successful two-year stint as manager at Plainmoor in the 1990s, said: “It is very disappointing news.
“Torquay has always prided itself in fulfilling a need to produce home-grown talent and, over the years, they have been very successful at doing that.
“Going back to my time, I remember working with the likes of Darren Moore, Gary Monk, Wayne Thomas and Steve Tully.
“Over the years, a lot of people have put a lot of time and effort into the nurturing of young Torbay talent, especially since the start of the Elite Player Performance Plan, and I pay tribute to them.”
Torquay’s decision to shut their Academy as a cost-cutting measure means more than 120 under-18 year-old players are suddenly without a club.
However, Kevin and the Plymouth Argyle staff are offering the rejected youngsters an opportunity to pick up their fledging career with the Pilgrims.
“We have found ourselves in the position where we have been inundated with ’phone calls from concerned parents,” said Kevin. Members of our technical board have also been proactive since we first heard of Torquay’s decision and have been in contact with the club to offer their support. We are keen to offer opportunities to the players and staff where possible.
“We feel there is a need to provide the chance for all 9-16 year-olds to put themselves forward to be introduced into our Player Pathway – we already have a Long-Term Development Centre in Torquay and are expanding to set up a Centre of Excellence this autumn. This will be overseen by Argyle’s coaches and provide progression into our Academy.
“There is an opportunity for all local boys to attend one of two trials we are holding on the 3G artificial surface at Paignton Community College.
“Everyone who was involved in the Torquay United Academy or Development Centres during the 2014-15 season is more than welcome to attend.
“Of course, there are other clubs also offering trials. I believe, at this stage, it’s best for these boys to explore all the options open to them. They can then decide which environment would best suit their personal development pathway.”
Paignton Community College
Tuesday, June 30
Tuesday, July 7
Please note: 2015-16 age groups
Please contact Argyle Youth Development Phase Lead Coach 12-16 Phil Stokes on firstname.lastname@example.org for further details or to register your interest in attending.