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Payne Joins U's Academy

8 January 2014

Stephen Payne joins as Lead Coach of the Youth Development Phase

Cambridge United are pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen Payne as Lead Coach of the Youth Development Phase in our academy.  This role primarily involves taking full responsibility for the development of our U12’s to U16’s and will include the expansion of our schools day release programme in 2014.  This enables us more contact time with our best young players, so that we can help them develop to their full potential.
Director of Football, Jez George, commented “We were staggered by the number and quality of applicants for this position when we advertised the role two months ago.  We completed an exhaustive interviewing process before Christmas and despite high quality competition, from a number of candidates currently in full-time jobs at Football League clubs, Stephen impressed us with his knowledge, drive, ambition and coaching ability.  He will work closely alongside our existing staff of Marc Tracy (Academy Operations Manager), Tom Pell (Lead Coach Foundation Phase) and Mark Bonner (Lead Coach Professional Phase).  We already have an outstanding team of full-time staff with tremendous work ethic, expertise and experience.  He will fit in perfectly and I am sure will prove to be a massive asset to our youth scheme.”
Jez went on to describe what their individual roles include, “These grandiose titles mean that Marc Tracy oversees the operational side of the academy, including organising the games programme, tour programme and recruitment.  Tom, Stephen and Mark look after the development of our 5’s to 11’s, 12’s to 16’s and 17’s to 21’s respectively, with responsibility for implementing their coaching syllabus.  This has expanded Mark’s role beyond the youth team and fills a gap that we identified within the system for our 12’s to 16’s.  Marc had previously combined this with his other responsibilities.  However, our desire to ensure that we continue to evolve, give our best players the right level of support and adhere as closely as possible to the demands of EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan) meant that it was vital we added to the staff and we are really pleased that Stephen has accepted our offer.”
Stephen, who left a role at League One Stevenage to accept the position, stated “I knew it was the right time to leave Stevenage. Speaking to Richard on my first day only confirmed my decision was correct and I'm very excited with both the role and possibilities that the academy offers to young coaches as well as the excellent  players all the way through the age groups.  The main focus in my working week will be overseeing the day release programme for the U13 - U16 players, adding greater value to the provision we offer here at CUFC, along with helping out in the day to day running of the academy operations.”
Jez concluded, “We pride ourselves in constantly improving and challenging ourselves to match clubs far higher in the football pyramid, with huge resources and Premier League funding, so that our young players have the best opportunity to fulfill their potential.  We face constant financial challenges but we have always been determined to ensure that we never compromise what we can offer our young players and we feel this was a necessary step to meet the constantly growing demands of EPPP, despite the fact that we cannot be classification until we regain our Football League status.  It is a further example of our commitment to developing young local talent through our football pyramid and producing home grown players for our first team.  The quality of players and strength in depth within our academy has never been higher, and that can also be said of our staff and team of coaches.”  
The academy kick off their fixture programme with games against Brighton & Hove Albion, Fulham and Ipswich Town after Christmas and our U15’s have already played in a tournament in Germany including clubs of the stature of Schalke 04 and Wolfsburg.

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