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Published March 3, 2023

Futures Groups Introduced

A new Academy initiative has been launched by Ipswich Town Academy.

Running weekly at Playford Road and a partner venue in Essex, Academy Futures Groups will sit between the Ipswich Town Foundation’s Advanced Training Centres (ATC) and the Academy setup within the player pathway.

The programme has been introduced to support players who have been identified within the Foundation’s existing setup as well as within local football in Ipswich, Suffolk and East Anglia as a whole.

Delivered by Academy coaches, weekly Futures Groups will run at Playford Road for U10-U13 boys and in Essex for U12-U15 boys during term time.

Players currently on a Foundation programme, who have been put forward by their staff or identified by an Academy scout will have the chance to progress into an Academy Futures Group, which provides a smoother transition into the Academy setup at what can otherwise be an intimidating move.

This also allows the Academy’s recruitment staff to assess boys on a trial before they join the Academy on an official basis.

“Futures Groups provide a bridge to allow more players to be involved in the Academy environment at Playford Road,” Alex Kaufman, Head of Academy Recruitment, told the Club website.

“The Foundation has got a really strong programme in place across East Anglia, where players are identified and developed under the Club’s banner.

“This move allows us to increase opportunities for boys in the Foundation’s centres, as well as for players who have been identified by our grassroots scouts.

“It can also give players a feel for the Academy without going straight into an academy squad, which can be quite daunting due to different pressures.

“It’s huge for the community because it will enable us to speed up the process for players who are excelling in the Foundation programmes or elsewhere in grassroots football.”

Jason Curtis, Head of Ipswich Town Foundation, added: “This is a great move for the Academy and Foundation.

“The introduction of Futures Groups will provide more fixture opportunities for our ATC and EPDC boys, meaning greater exposure to Academy recruitment staff.

“This move provides fluid movement between the pathway and by no means is a barrier to development or progression.”

Dean Wright, the Club’s Academy Manager continued: “It is important that the Academy has a presence in the community and is fully aligned with the Club’s Foundation to ensure we are connected to local people.

“The Futures Group will enable us to do this by providing a pathway for up-and-coming talent, supporting players back into the different levels of the pathway if they leave the Academy, and giving more players the opportunity to experience the environment at our training facility.

“It’s also key that we support and compliment the great work that goes on in grassroots football. The days and times of our Futures Groups are set specifically to avoid clashing with what local clubs are doing so that we can support it rather than get in the way of it.”