The Belvedere Underage Academy runs every Saturday morning on at the Clontarf Road All Weather Complex beside the DART station, from 9.30am - 12 noon. The Academy is for U4s - U7s.
The U4s and U5s play between 9.30am and 10.45am and the older ones, U6s and U7s are on from 10.45am until 12 noon.
For info contact our Underage Director of Coaching, Darragh O'Reilly (pictured below coaching at The Academy) on 087 951 54 13.
Want to see exactly what goes on at our Academy? Here's a three minute video http://vimeo.com/116883982
Belvo Academy – The Next Generation
The Belvedere FC Academy takes place every Saturday morning at the Clontarf All Weather facility between 9.30am and 12pm.
Run by qualified coaches, a lot of whom played for Belvo, the academy provides fun sessions and games for boys and girls between the ages of four and eight aimed at developing their skill and ability, as well as other aspects of their life including diet and hydration, as they prepare to move into the club’s U8s team at the end of their time in the academy.
Pic: Former Belvo player, and Ireland U21 International Graham Burke, who now plays for Notts County, played for Belvo since he was six, popped down last summer.
Martin Cooke remains the common thread to the origins of the Clontarf based academy in 2011. Martin and Philip Manly started the Belvo Academy in the Larkin College back in 2006. More on that later.
The age profile of the players has also lowered over the last year as eight year olds from the academy have progressed on to Belvo teams. Our current players span an age range of 4-8 with four distinct groups split by age and stage of development.
The 4s and 5s are on from 9.30am to 10.45am while the ‘senior pros’ (6s and 7s) arrive at 10.30am and finish at 12 noon. This allows the sessions to be designed with age appropriate exercises and maintain good quality with a high ratio of coaches to players. All of our academy coaches have attended FAI and other coaching courses appropriate to this age group. We typically facilitate between 40 and 50 kids each Saturday morning with between six and nine coaches looking after the boys and girls.
Pic: Coach Dave Curley with some of our young Academy stars
The ethos of the academy and our coaches is to encourage kids of all abilities to develop at their own pace in a fun environment.
We use age appropriate games that focus on the ABC FUNdamentals of Agility, Balance and Coordination. As well as improving their skills, including touch, passing, control, heading and shooting etc, the kids spend time on their foot-work with fun games involving ladders, hoops and hurdles. The sessions end with small-sided games where the kids enjoy putting what they have practiced into action and scoring lots of goals. The academy also encourages healthy eating by giving each play a piece of fruit and a fruit drink at the end of each session.
The academy season runs for 11 months from the start of July through to the end of May, excluding Christmas and Bank Holiday weekends. It costs just €75 per child/family for the year, which works out at just €2 per session. Belvo Academy kits are available at €20 for a jersey, socks and shorts, provided by our club suppliers Nike.
The club also invite other academies to visit us and play matches and have football blitzes every few weeks. The Belvo Academy also plays in the St Mochtas summer tournament at U6 and U7 to give the players the experience of travelling to other places and playing against other teams.
Pic: Jimmy Scurry with a group of our younger players
Since the academy moved to Clontarf in 2011, over 120 players have progressed through to become part of teams in the club. The U8s, U9 and U10 teams all contain academy graduates.
A number of the boys in the academy are sons and brothers of former Belvo players, as the family connection with the club continues.
Ken McCarthy, Stephen Coakley, Sean Fitzpatrick and Tayo Rotimi are four of our newer coaches. They join Jimmy Scurry, who played on one of the first ever Belvo teams, Ciaran Duffy and Keith Doyle , two former Ireland underage international while at Belvo and Eddie Foy and Martin Cooke who both managed successful Belvo teams over the years and are now a massive part of the academy.
The club make a conscious effort to make sure that the academy has the best coaches at the club for players at the younger ages.
Former Belvo player Wesley Hoolahan, who is now at Norwich City and a full Ireland International popped down to the academy earlier this season. As did Sean Kavangh (Fulham) and John O'Sullivan (Blackburn Rovers), two former Belvo lads.
The Academy as we now know it in Clontarf has been going for over 4 years. However, eight years ago Martin Cooke and Philip Manly ran a similar ‘Introduction to Football’ in the Larkin Community College also on a Saturday morning. It began with kids in the local North Inner City area and through connections in local school , particularly Eddie Foy in Brunswick Street School, commonly known as "Brunner", we got a lot of players from the Greek Street, Broadstone and O'Devaney Gardens areas.
We then began our first Under 8s team and Arron McKenna, a former Belvo goalkeeper, played from The Academy all the way up to U17. His brother Daniel who played on another Under 8 team, at six years old, has gone on to captain the Irish Under 15 and Under 16 teams, and is an Ireland Under 17 international, now plays for Wolves.
Arron remembers those early days.
“My first experience as a kid was when I was just 8 down at the Larkin College, me and a couple of my friends from school and around the area went down. It was great playing on a team with all of your friends, it makes things a lot more fun.”
Dano (pictured right) was even younger when he first started in the Belvo academy at just 6. Both of the lads were coached by Philip Manly and Martin Cooke. Dano remembers some of his early experiences:
“Nearly every time I went up to the Larkin to train I used to get thrown out of training by Martin and Philip cause I was a messer, they still talk to me though!”
Mum Karen also looks back on the boys’ early days at Belvo:
“My first memory of Belvo is like the boys, Larkin College with Philip and Martin on a Saturday morning. It was great watching the boys on the pitch learning drills and skills and having fun with all the other kids. I used to wonder how the managers put up with all the messing.”
Another success of the ‘Larkin’ was that it enabled Belvedere to reintegrate back into our traditional North Inner City area. Cutbacks in funding meant that the Larkin College ceased to open on Saturday mornings and thankfully, at that stage, the All Weather facility in Clontarf was coming on-stream so the academy could continue from a new home.
So if you have a child between four and eight who wants to learn the play football ‘The Belvo Way’ in a fun environment, get him/her down to the academy in Clontarf any Saturday morning between 9.30am. Give Darragh O'Reilly a call on 087 951 54 13.
And we don’t just want players, if you are an ex Belvo player, someone with a connection to the club, or someone interested in coaching and feel you are what the Belvo Academy needs, give Darragh a shout.