It’s very rare to see a young player scouted for a huge Premier League club like Everton told to not bother with their development centre and go straight to Finch Farm, Everton’s illustrious Academy where players like Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley have both graduated from. So you can imagine the surprise, shock and sheer delight when Striker Academy’s Ashton Harrison got told just that!
Ashton joined Striker Academy’s ‘Mini Strikers Advanced‘ class back in November and was quickly singled out by Coach Greg Berry, who runs the Sunday morning flagship sessions in Warrington, as a player that needed an extra push.
Greg mentions “I wanted to see how Ashton found the class first and I also wanted to observe how he played before I mentioned anything but I could quickly see that he needed an extra push so I recommended that he be put into my Academy class – usually reserved for players 8 years and over.”
“He’s only been with us a few months but I could see he was talented and I was delighted to hear from Mike, Ashton’s father, that he’d been scouted at his school by Everton FC. And even more delighted to hear that he’d been asked to go straight to Finch Farm rather than a development centre.”
Premier League clubs have numerous opportunities for talented children to be spotted and Everton have an established schools programme where they attempt to highlight young talent and invite them to development centres.
At these centres players are trained and observed over a 5-12 week period and those that are talented enough are then selected to attend the full Academy programme at Finch Farm where they are trained by some of the best coaches in the country and learn how to play football to the very highest standard.
Mike Harrison, Ashton’s father commented, “At his first session at the development centre I was really worried because I didn’t know the standard of the other players and what the coaches were looking for. I soon saw Ashton performing the drills with confidence as he’d done most of this type of high paced, high quality training at Striker Academy. As you can imagine I was relieved and pleased to see him handle it all in his stride. I’m grateful to everyone at Striker Academy, especially Greg, for helping him to progress so quickly.”
Striker Academy run skills classes for players aged 7 and above at their Warrington and Chester football development centres. Players of all abilities are welcomed and the aim of these classes is to help develop each and every player to become the best they can be in a professional, encouraging and caring environment where the players needs come first. You can find out more information about the Academy skills classes here.