Young footballers across Northern Ireland are being given the chance to show off their talent at open trials for the Irish FA’s elite performance programme.
Boys and girls aged 10 to 14 who dream of one day representing Northern Ireland are invited to take a trial for JD Club NI – an IFA initiative run in association with sports retailer JD.
The programme – entitled ‘Do You Want To Play For Northern Ireland?’ – is designed to unearth, nurture and develop the best young footballing talent from across the country, whilst trying to attract youngsters who may not have considered taking up football.
The trials are open to any player within the 10-14 age range and will involve three rounds over five weekends from 6 May to 3 June, all overseen by Irish FA coaches, with hundreds of kids expected to be involved.
Registration is open until 21 April and the first round of trials will take place on the following dates:
6 May: Derry-Londonderry
7 May: Dungannon
13 May: Belfast
14 May: Newry
The best players from these four trials will go on to a second round to be held in Belfast on 20-21 May.
Selected participants will then be invited to a residential weekend in Belfast on 28-30 May, before trialists take on a team of current JD Club NI players in a match on Saturday 3 June.
Players from the programme have recently signed contracts with a host of Premier League clubs, including Manchester United, Chelsea and Everton.
This is the second year of the open trials initiative and Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill is hopeful of a repeat of last year’s successful process, which saw five trialists make it onto the JD Club NI programme.
“We unearthed some great talent in 2016 and we are confident we will find some more gems this year. This is a fantastic opportunity for boys and girls across Northern Ireland to showcase their talents,” said O’Neill.
To register a player for the trials you first need to download the IFA.JD app. Please note that only players aged 10-14 are eligible to apply. Deadline for applications is Friday 21 April.
Image courtesy of IrishFA.com.