Pro Development Deals For Five

ARGYLE have offered professional contracts to five of this season’s apprentices... part of a new initiative to aid young players’ development.

Jack Calver, Owen Jones, Billy Palfrey and Ben Steer have been given a one-year pro deal which will see the young Pilgrims progress their careers in a unique scheme that intends to bridge the gap between Academy football and the Argyle first-team squad. Jake Miller, whose development has been hampered by injury, has been offered month-to-month terms.

The five will not be included in Derek Adams’ first-team squad but be part of a new development structure at Home Park aimed at preparing players properly for the demands of the Football League following years of youth football.

Part of that process will see them play for the Pilgrims’ Carlsberg South West Peninsula League Premier Division development team, and possibly be loaned out to senior teams outside the Football League.

They will continue to train and play under the guidance of the Argyle Academy. In addition, they will take a Plymouth City College-linked 1st4sport Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Supporting the Delivery of Physical Education and School Sport (QCF).

As well as their studies, the young pros will deliver coaching sessions for the Argyle Community Trust and the Long-Term Development Scheme.

The gap between youth football and the professional game is of growing concern, not just to Argyle, but to football as a whole. As was seen this season, when Argyle first-year pro Louis Rooney made just one first-team appearance and Callum Hall none, young players are finding it difficult to adjust the demands of stepping straight out of youth football into the first team.

It is hoped this enterprising scheme will address that to the benefit of the players, the club, and the game.

Four players – Cory Harvey, Liam Knowles, Jamil Roberts and Jason Vincent – have not been offered new terms. We thank them for all they have contributed to life at Home Park and wish them every success in their future career.