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Exeter City Academy to offer opportunities to all youngsters from Torquay United

22 June 2015

Devon youngsters offered chance with Exeter

Exeter City Academy Manager Simon Hayward has confirmed that youngsters from Torquay United’s Academy will all be offered an opportunity for a trial at Exeter City, following the closure of the Gulls’ youth set-up last week.

For those players and parents who are affected directly by this, there is further information about the dates and times of the trials at the bottom of this article.  Click here to go directly to the trial details section.


Torquay’s Academy has been closed as one of many difficult decisions that have had to be made at Plainmoor, which hopefully will lead to the long-term security and future prosperity of the club as a whole.

In the short term that means that over 120 youngsters from Torquay and the surrounding area will be left without a club.  Undoubtedly this is a very difficult time for the young players and their families, as well as the staff which were previously employed at the Academy.

To that end, all players from the Torquay United Academy which are entering age-groups between Under-10 and Under-16 this year will be invited to a trial next week.  Players entering Under-17 and Under-18 age-groups will have the chance of an extended trial in the near future.  A small number of players who were previously already known to Exeter City have already been offered registrations.

After the trials, it will not be possible to offer registrations to every player.  However Exeter City’s Academy believe that it is important to offer every child the opportunity of a trial and an opportunity to become part of the Grecians' player progression pathway.

The decision to invite Torquay’s former Academy players to a trial with Exeter has been conducted following open and honest dialogue with Torquay United and its senior staff, as well as the Football League.  No actions have been carried out without the consent of the other parties.

Exeter City Academy Manager Simon Hayward said: “First and foremost, we want to share our utmost sympathy with the situation that the young players, their family and the staff at Torquay United are going through.

“However it appears that there is no other course of action available to Torquay at this time, which is a huge shame for the young players and football in the South West.  Therefore we are pleased that we are able to offer each of the boys a trial and a chance to become part of the club, and hopefully help many of them achieve their dream of becoming a professional footballer.

“Sadly many of those invited for a trial will not be offered registrations, we just don't have the space to take everyone, but we feel that every player in their situation deserves the opportunity.  Similarly we will be speaking soon with coaches who have lost their jobs at Torquay to see whether there are opportunities within our set-up and we will help them in any way we can.

“We have been communicating closely with Torquay United and the Football League in recent weeks in a spirit which befits our positive working relationship, and we feel that we have reached the best possible solution for all parties in these extremely difficult circumstances.”



Trial Details 
All trials will take place at St Luke’s Science & Sports College, Harts Lane, Exeter, EX1 3RD.  Former Torquay players should book their attendance in advance by emailing the relevant coach as listed below; trials are open to former Torquay players only and parents are asked to bring along paperwork to confirm this, as names will be cross-checked against a list provided by Torquay United staff.  Please note that coaches are on annual leave until Monday 29th June so responses may be delayed; however everything will be set up and ready to go on the evenings of the trials.

Under-10/11/12 – Monday 29th June
(Email Chad Gribble on chad.gribble@exetercityfc.co.uk)

Under-13/14/15 – Tuesday 30th June
(Email Dan Green on dan.green@exetercityfc.co.uk)

Under-16 – Wednesday 1st July
(Email Simon Hayward on simon.hayward@exetercityfc.co.uk)

Under-17/18 – to be arranged

All sessions will begin with a briefing at 6pm and begin on the training pitch at 6.30pm.  After the session finishes at 8.30pm, families will then be invited for a Q&A session with Simon Hayward and Academy coaches.

Players should wear any form of training kit which they feel comfortable in.  They should also bring shinpads and plenty to drink.  If at all possible, players should bring along astroturf trainers, boots with moulded studs, and indoor trainers - this is because some of the training may take place in a sports hall, some may take place on a sand-based astroturf pitch and some may take place on a grass surface.

We understand and appreciate that this is a difficult period and holds a lot of uncertainty, but we would appreciate your patience in this matter because of the number of players and families which are affected.  If you know of other families and players who are also affected by the closure of Torquay’s Academy, please link them to this article.

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