A development centre exists in Barnstaple catering for children in the North Area. It is expertly run by Dave Langford and his team of qualified coaches.
Recently a relationship has been made with Exeter City FC and it will be known as the Barnstaple Development Centre.
Dave Langford, the head coach, said: “There has been quite a strong link at our centre with Exeter City for a number of years and we have decided now is the time to formalise it. “They have wanted to have a centre in North Devon for a long time and I have wanted to make sure it was a positive move for the North Devon centre. “It gives us that kudos of being a professional outfit. “We have the same ethos as Exeter City — a code of conduct in the way we perform and try to look after the children.” The new arrangement means more youngsters will have trials at the Exeter Elite Development Centre with the chance of joining the Exeter City Centre of Excellence.
Players will have regular games against Exeter’s other development centres across Devon and the chance to impress Simon Hayward, their head of youth development.
George Friend, of Chittlehampton, was one of the first players to join Exeter from the North Devon system. He is now playing in the Championship with Doncaster Rovers. Gary Sawyer, of Bideford, joined Plymouth Argyle and was on loan when he played in Exeter’s famous draw at Manchester United in the FA Cup. He is now with Bristol Rovers. In recent years, Liam Craze, Abel Budd, Jack Langford and Sean Downing have all graduated from the Park School group to Exeter’s centre of excellence. North Devon players such as Alex Byrne, Luke Kerswell, Rudi Small, Sam Phillips, Lewis Setherton and Joe Comerford are currently with the Exeter youth system. And Charlie Jenkins and Ethan Peters go for trials with the under-9s and under-10s this week.
Established in 1992, the centre was backed by the Football Association until it withdrew financial support. “For the last two years, we have run without the FA,” said Langford. “We have run on our own and we have run a very successful centre and been in the black, no problems. “When the FA withdrew the funding it caused a few problems but we have got back to a very solid basis and it has grown again. “We’ve got a very high quality coaching staff and we’ve got a really vibrant set-up.”
With four level-three coaches — Dave Langford, Ray Charran, Bob Moon and Jeremy Huggins — and goalkeeping coach David Bennett, North Devon has one of the most knowledgeable teams in the county.
For further information please use the link below.
For more information ring Dave Langford on 01237 479625 or 07877 730986. Alternatively, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information can be viewed on the Exeter City Centre of Excellence here. There is a part of the site devoted to the Barnstaple Centre where you can find out all the information you need.