Maidstone United are hosting a trial for their football academy next month

Covid-19 put paid to planned dates in October, December and February but with restrictions on grassroots football being eased at the end of the month, the club have confirmed Wednesday 7 April for their first trial ahead of a September start.

With Covid guidelines still in place, all trialists must register by Friday 2 April – there will be no on-the-day applications.

Invited applicants will be asked to arrive at the Gallagher Stadium from 4pm that day, with the trial finishing between 6.30 and 6.45pm.

Based at the home of the Stones, the club and Cornwallis Academy offer a two-year programme that combines academic sports studies, alongside football matches, training and qualifications

You get to play and train like a full time footballer at this state-of-the-art venue. The BTEC Sport course is an ideal route for employment in the sports industry or a pathway to university.

New academy head coach Billy Jones said: “Numbers for this September are really encouraging and we’re looking forward to putting the lads through their paces next month.

“I know this is a really difficult time for so many students, with the uncertainty about grades and teacher assessments. We’ll look to do all we can to support those who want to come here and continue their journey towards semi-pro or professional football.”

Two academy squads compete in the National League Under 19 Alliance – one of the largest leagues in the country – featuring academy teams backed by professional or semi-pro clubs. Academy students also represent the club in the prestigious FA Youth Cup.

A number of players have been called up to the first team and under-23 squads, with several others dual-registered with local clubs.

·         Apply for a place at the academy in September 2021