Everton’s expertise to lift Ipswich club to new level
A HISTORIC partnership with world renowned Everton Football Club is set to kick Ipswich sport into a new era of excellence.
After months of careful planning, Western Pride FC has secured a two-year arrangement with the powerhouse English Premier League club as part of their International Academy Affiliate Programme.
The Everton International Academy Affiliate Programme allows select football clubs around the world access to year-round support from an international football organisation.
"This has never been seen before in this region,'' Western Pride general manager Pat Boyle said.
Having been with Pride since its formation for the 2013 National Premier League season, Boyle was delighted to give young footballers such an impressive international boost.
"For us, it's simple,'' Boyle said. "Once again, we are just trying to provide those opportunities for the kids.''
Boyle said Pride would have access to all the professional runnings of coaches on and off the field.
"It is nothing short of amazing,'' he said.
"It also enables us to lift our profile and lift our program to another level.
"It is not only an opportunity for players but coaching staff, administration.
"We have the opportunity to take players and staff over there at any time.''
Western Pride football operations manager Pye Augustine said those benefits would be widespread and start immediately.
"For us, it is the biggest news and it's very exciting for all of us involved,'' Augustine said.
"They are one of the biggest, best clubs in football and for them to share their knowledge with us, we can't even put a value of that.
"The co-operation between the two clubs will help with the resources that we can deliver to our members, which will then develop the kids of the region.''
Pride coaches and officials will be able to tap into Everton's session plans.
"We've got a library of that so it's intellectual property that they in their Academy use and they transfer onto us,'' she said.
"It's primarily for the kids up 17 years of age and it's the grassroots of actually teaching them about football and what they should.
"It's not just the football. It's also other stuff like the sports and conditioning side of things, the business, their best practices and a lot more mentoring to take Western Pride into the way Everton do things.''
Augustine said Everton would engage "straight away'' with Pride coaches.
Apart from access to Everton's expertise on home soil, Western Pride players will have the opportunity for training visits to the English Premier League club's state-of-the-art facilities in Liverpool.
Director of the Everton Academy David Unsworth was excited about the English-Ipswich link.
"Western Pride's new status as an Everton International Academy Affiliate Programme member marks the next phase in their ambition and growth,'' Unsworth said.
"It will see them gain the best in sporting knowledge and insight from our Academy coaches.
"At Everton we have a passion for developing quality footballers but also helping them
grow as people. This is something that we share with Western Pride, a great Academy club with teams of all ages.
"I'm confident this new partnership can help Western Pride achieve the goals they have set for the advancement of their club as a whole and, more specifically, around player development. "We look forward to working closely together over the coming years."
Boyle said the support from Everton "had been absolutely amazing'' with all the COVID issues.
Augustine said Everton were the easiest to work with "and they've been very open and transparent with us''.
She said the Ipswich club had been working on the partnership since the beginning of the season.
"Even though COVID, we've been able to work through that and come to an agreement which suits both parties,'' she said.
After the first year of the partnership, Pride have the opportunity to revise the benefits.
"If nothing else, this year has taught us that the world is quite a fluid environment so that's why year one, we'll have a look to check to see what else we can improve on and what they can deliver as well.''