JT Shows Valley Scholars The Way
Rugby Town FC's Academy scholars enjoyed another invaluable experience last week when they were invited to Aston Villa FC's Bodymoor Heath training facility for a session with a number of leading figures in the professional game.
Ex-England Captain and Premier League legend John Terry - who is now on Villa's coaching staff - was one of those on hand to coach and develop Town's youngsters, and he was joined by other international footballers Mile Jedinak, Albert Adomah and Michael Dawson.
Valley's Academy Manager Liam O'Neill was still buzzing after an incredible day for his charges on the programme that was established last summer. He explained: "It is a real privilege for the academy to have been offered this opportunity.
"I've worked hard over past years to build up strong relationships with many coaches within the FA and PFA, and this invitation also demonstrates the growing reputation that we are establishing at Butlin Road."
This latest excursion follows on the back of the Academy's participation in a prestigious Premier League referee's association tournament at the FA's national football centre at St George's Park at the start of the season and a number of other subsequent memorable events - including a game against the Manchester United Women's team and participation in a Reuters/Chinese TV documentary.
O'Neill continued: "To be able to work with such top players is an amazing opportunity for our scholars and I'm sure one that they and our coaching staff will never forget.
"These unique experiences can only help us as we continue to attract quality young footballers and develop the academy as a whole.
"We have been invited back to Bodymoor again next week, so they must have been impressed by the quality and attitude of the lads, and we've also managed to arrange another friendly for our under 18's team against the Man Utd ladies at the club's Carrington training complex this weekend."
O'Neill was full of praise for the efforts of Terry - who enjoyed a successful twenty year professional career, mainly spent as captain of a Chelsea side that won numerous trophies. He said: "John went out of his way to give as much time as he could to the players both during and after the session - signing shirts and having pictures taken with them long after it had finished.
"He was a great advert for a top professional and it was an honour to be able to work with him."