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Coleraine academy opens up an even bigger pathway for young stars, says Patrick Kelly

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Patrick Kelly is a fan of Coleraine’s new academy

Patrick Kelly is a fan of Coleraine’s new academy

©INPHO/Jonathan Porter

Patrick Kelly is a fan of Coleraine’s new academy

Coleraine’s teenage sensation Patrick Kelly has given his backing to the club’s new academy.

The Bannsiders have teamed up with Football Management Company and North Coast Integrated College to offer a first-class facility for youth development.

The initiative is aimed at students who wish to pursue a career in football or the leisure industry.

Teenage midfielder Kelly, who broke through into the first team and produced mature performances in midfield last season, says he hopes the academy will produce results on and off the pitch.

“There was a pathway there when I was coming through but there is an even bigger pathway now with the offer of full-time football and education so there is a really good chance of breaking through,” said Kelly.

The unique two-year programme is equivalent to three A-Levels and combines specialist football coaching and training with an expert, first-class education. Both educational and practical elements of the course will be delivered at Coleraine Showgrounds where students will benefit from the use of a state-of-the-art 4G surface and will be taught by coaching professionals to help develop and improve in all aspects of the game.

The level three course will also enhance career opportunities by gaining Irish FA-recognised qualifications within its coach education pathway.

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Coleraine chairman Colin McKendry said: “Hopefully we will attract elite players who will take advantage of the programme. But it’s also a fantastic opportunity for people who want to make a career in sports science because football isn’t necessary all about playing; the industry has a much wider scope.”

Angela Passmore, principal of North Coast Integrated College, added: “Its a really exciting programme to be involved in and we are really happy with it.”

Players can register their interest in the course by visiting http://colerainefc.com/the-coleraine-way/

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