28 December, 2010

UCC's elite soccer students to get professional treatment:

"The facilities here (UCC) would rival anything I have seen in the United States" - says Greg Yelverton

Former Cork City FC player: Greg Yelverton (pictured right) is overseeing the professionalisation of soccer at University College Cork (UCC).
After spending two years in the United States, Yelverton was appointed the FAI's Football Facilitator at UCC (one of six at each university throughout the country) with a remit to encourage third-level students to play soccer during the course of their study years.
Yelverton has stated above that the facilities at UCC are of international quality, but, in the past, UCC have not (for whatever reason) attracted the calibre of player for which their facilities deserved. It is Yelverton's job to encourage students to make UCC their number one choice if they want to make it as a professional footballer. He does this through the recently established Player Development Programme. The Programme is not a scholarship as such, but players are encouraged and can apply for scholarships at the University, further down the line.
Yelverton consulted people like Neal Horgan (pictured right and current Cork City FC player who is also a qualified lawyer) about how to draw players in who had real potential but who also wanted to have a degree to fall back on in case things didn't go their way in the harsh reality of professional football.
With nutritionists, sports scientists, strength and conditioning coaches all ready, UCC went about attracting one of the most respected names in Cork football, John Caulfield, to its ranks. Caulfield now manages the UCC Senior Squad, which competes in the Premier Division of the Munster League but he also offers guidance to the college's three junior teams and freshers' team, alongside the two women's teams.
Most players are on the Player Development Programme and train five days a week along with a game (or two) at the weekends! Nutrition, strength, conditioning, bleep tests, sprint tests, body fat, agility testing and muscle strength are all intensively monitored on a weekly basis by UCC's sports science experts.
Yelverton believes that if the Player Development Programme had been in place years ago then many more Cork players would have made it at League of Ireland level and possibly onto England also, if they so wished. The programme - as well as all players on the programme - is being closely watched by current Cork City FC manager Tommy Dunne - and there are sure to be other scouts monitoring the fledging endeavour.
The main benefit of this Programme is the way it bridges the gap between youth and senior football, both in terms of physical and tactical development. We await, with interest, the fruits of this great initiative.
UCC's Mardyke Arena: facilitates player development through world class equipment & expert staff

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