Belfast Telegraph

200 young stars score with vital funding

By Amanda Ferguson

The Crusaders Youth Academy has been nurturing young footballing talent with Community Cash funding.

Neil McMaster, director of youth football at Crusaders FC in north Belfast, spoke of how the funding has been making a difference.

"We have over 200 kids who play in our mini-soccer centre, games development teams and National League sides," he said.

"Our aim is to give all kids the chance to play football with an eye on getting players into the Crusaders FC first team or across the water into full-time football.

"Current first-team player Gavin Whyte is a former youth player having signed for us when he was 13.

"We also offer an education programme aimed at players, coaches and parents, this includes nutrition, drugs awareness, gambling awareness and others aimed at making our players better young people. We also offer support to former players who wish to return to coaching and we have a number currently at the club who have followed that path and provide this with coaching badges.

"With grant awards from funders like Comic Relief Community Cash this enables us to provide these worthwhile courses.

"We are a very young youth set-up with very big plans."

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