27 May 2009

Everton to open football academy near Christchurch

6:20 pm on 27 May 2009

Young New Zealand footballers striving to play in England or Europe now have a clear path to chase their dreams.

The Asia Pacific Football academy will open in Lincoln, near Christchurch next year in partnership with English Premier League club Everton.

The academy's performance director Rob Sherman says the programme will provide a pathway for talented footballers into the professional game and there is every possibility some graduates will turn out for the FA Cup finalists.

APFA will provide full schooling for 13- to 18-year-olds as well as 20 hours of football training per week.

The participants will wear Everton kit and the Premier League club will have first right of refusal on APFA players.

The Canterbury and Crusaders rugby organisations are helping out with operational support.

The academy will initially be open to New Zealand and Oceania residents with other Asia and Pacific players welcome from year two.

Sherman holds a UEFA Pro Licence and worked for New Zealand Football after a stint as the Wales under-16 coach.

Sherman played for Wales, Swansea City and Cardiff City.