We are excited to announce that Jeff Hughes will become the club’s new Head of Youth Development Phase, following the conclusion of his injury rehabilitation process.
This announcement follows the launch of the club’s Professional Development Phase in recent weeks, with Ryan Prentice being named as Head of our Professional Development Phase and Albert Watson as U16 Head Coach.
The next step in the club’s ambitious academy plans is to put a Youth Development Phase structure in place, which Hughes will oversee on a full-time basis.
The Youth Development Phase will involve young players aged 6-12 years old within our academy set-up, and is described as the club’s “backbone” by manager Tiernan Lynch. He commented:
“Our Youth Development Phase is another massive part of where we want to go as a club. This phase will give our young players the grounding to progress into our Professional Development Phase, and our Scholarship Phase and first team squad thereafter.
“By focusing on players from the age of six-years-old upwards, we want to give players, especially young boys and girls from Larne, the opportunities to develop their technical and functional abilities first and foremost. This will involve doubling and trebling their contact time with the football, making them technically competent and creating the best chance to progress through our academy phases.
“When we were talking about this phase, it was decided that there was no better person to lead the project than ‘Mr. Larne’ himself, Jeff Hughes. He [Jeff] has all of the experience in coming from the Youth Development Phase age groups, up to the heights of international football and I think that every young player from Larne will be really excited to come into contact with someone like Jeff in this new role.”
Speaking on his new role within the club, Hughes added:
“I’m really excited and looking forward to creating an environment where kids will have an even better chance than what I had to make it in the game. For kids to have more contact time with the ball, more sessions and ultimately more fun while playing in a positive environment, it can only improve their chances of progressing into our Professional Development Phase within the club and beyond.
“When I was younger, a lot of the best local players had to go to other teams to fulfil their potential, but thanks to the work Tiernan and Kenny have done over the past number of years, the young players now and in the future will have one of the best teams in country, if not the best team in the country on their doorstep.”