The South's most promising footballers will be given a direct
pathway to a professional career when an English club
establishes a development centre in Dunedin.
Burnley Football Club is to introduce the centre, probably by
April, as part of its Australasian Academy structure.
It will provide talented young players (ages 6 to 16) an
opportunity to get top coaching and potentially, if they are
good enough, earn a professional contract.
The centre will not be in brick-and-mortar form but will
effectively be a top-class coaching programme.
Burnley academy representatives will be in Dunedin within
weeks to look at players, make presentations to parents and
scout a potential venue for the centre.
Footballsouth will have no direct involvement but Burnley
will forge a link with a local club, which will provide a
training ground. Burnley will contract coaches, both locally
and from further afield, and provide training equipment.
Entry into the development centre will cost $660 per training
phase - the first is April to September, and the second
October to March - though acceptance will also depend on
Players will be kitted out in Burnley's claret gear and
receive either two (in season) or three (out of season)
training sessions every week for 45 weeks, plus game analysis
If the Dunedin development centre goes well, it could be
upgraded to a full academy (ages 11 to 18).
Burnley might not be in the same financial league as
Manchester City or Chelsea but it is a well-resourced club
keen to spread its scouting net.
It will have first call on any talented prospect to emerge
from the Dunedin development centre.
Burnley, based in the town of the same name about 35km north
of Manchester, was in the English Premier League as recently
as 2009-10, for a one-season spell after 33 years out of the
top flight. It is presently eighth in the second-tier
The club already has a strong Otago connection. Cameron
Howieson, the 18-year-old former Mosgiel midfielder, is
contracted to Burnley. He has made a handful of senior
appearances, helped the youth side beat Manchester United in
the FA Cup, and played at the Olympics and for the All Whites
Former Mosgiel and Otago United defender Matt Brook works for
Burnley's major academy base in Perth.
As well as setting up in Dunedin, Burnley will establish
development centres in Christchurch. That city also has the
Asia Pacific Football Academy, run with Chelsea Football
Club, which helped develop Howieson.