THE NEW Exeter City football academy at Bideford College has made a successful start.
Twenty-four members of the sixth form are signed up to the academy, which gives players from North Devon access to coaching and academic studies.
They play in the British Universities and Colleges Sport South West League.
Competing mainly against teams a year older, Bideford have won two – including a 3-1 win against local rivals Petroc – lost two and drawn one.
Among the players to impress have been Liam Gregory, Alan Woodcock, Ewan Collier, Billy Rhoads, Ben Brend and Josh Johnstone.
Players receive a minimum of six hours coaching a week alongside their A levels or further education studies.
They are coached by Dave Langford, a Uefa B licence holder, Jason Smith, the former Swansea City captain, and Tim Martin, a member of the college PE staff.
With the new sports facilities at Bideford, the academy is expecting to double its membership in 2013.
In the new year, Exeter will also provide an advanced development centre at Bideford, working alongside their centre at the Park Community School in Barnstaple.
In 2012, eight players from the Barnstaple centre were invited for trials with the Exeter City centre of excellence.
The Bideford centre runs on Fridays from 5 to 6.30pm. It is open to players aged five to 11 and costs £3 per hour.
The Barnstaple centre runs on Mondays from 4.45 to 7.45pm for those aged six to 16. Potential new players are welcome to apply.
For more information call Dave Langford on 01237 479625 or 07877 730986 or e-mail email@example.com.