Poppies on the hunt for next crop of starlets

Seventeen-year-old Ben Bradshaw signed a contract with Kettering Town earlier this year, watched by his dad Nick and Poppies chairman Ritchie Jeune
Seventeen-year-old Ben Bradshaw signed a contract with Kettering Town earlier this year, watched by his dad Nick and Poppies chairman Ritchie Jeune

Kettering Town are on the hunt for the next crop of youngsters for their academy set up.

The Poppies have been working in partnership with Kettering Science Academy and have their own academy within the town to give youngsters aged between 16 and 20 the chance to continue their education while playing football.

They are set to hold trials during the Easter holidays for the next enrolment in September this year and they will be hoping more follow in the footsteps of 17-year-old Ben Bradshaw.

The midfielder has been part of the scheme and his performances in the last round of trials earlier this year earned him a call-up to the English Schools FA under-18 squad for the Centenary Shield in which he has already features as England go up against the likes of Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.

Bradshaw was also rewarded with a first-team contract by the Poppies at the same time as his call-up.

Academy head coach Steve Kinniburgh, a former Kettering captain and a coach for the first team, said: “Ben is the perfect example of what can happen.

“He came into the project back in the summer and he has made a big impression.

“His efforts have seen him selected for the England Under-18 team for the Centenary Shield and that all led to him signing a contract with the club at the start of the year.

“I think it’s good for the fans to see that the work we have been doing is paying off.

“It shows what can happen with these boys, the youngsters will get the chance to do their A Levels or BTEC Level 2 and 3 as well as having their football training.

“No matter what educational background the boys have there are further opportunities for players to continue their education while playing football.

“There will be trials for September’s enrolment coming up during the Easter holidays and we hope plenty will take advantage of it.”

Anyone who would like further details on the Poppies academy and the upcoming trials should check out the Facebook page www.facebook.com/KTFCSmart or email to steve.kinniburgh@ketteringtownfc.com.