Premiership trials for young Ivybridge players

Two rising stars from Ivybridge Community College’s Football Academy have been scouted by top Premiership clubs.

Archie Thomas and Jake Lane, both 14-year-old Year 10 students, have just returned from trials at the two clubs, after impressing scouts in College matches.

Archie Thomas, who plays central midfield spent three days at Villa Park, after he was spotted by an Aston Villa scout playing for Ivybridge Community College in the Devon Cup against Paignton College.

He said: “It’s my lifetime’s ambition to play in the Premier League, and being selected for Villa’s academy would be the perfect start. My granddad had trials for Tottenham, so my ultimate dream is to play for them – and for England, of course.”

In addition to being an Ivybridge Community College Academy player, Archie also trains with Torquay United twice per week. He was at a training session with Torquay when he found out about the trial.

“It came completely out of the blue,” added Archie. “Geoff Harrop, the Academy Manager at Torquay, just stopped me in a training session and told me that a Premier League club had been looking at me. It took some time to sink in, but I’m so excited to have the opportunity.”

College teammate Jake Lane, who’s also in Year 10 at Ivybridge Community College, has just returned from a trial with Manchester United’s Academy. He was first spotted at the training session when Paul Scholes visited the College in October last year, and he was then monitored by a United scout in an ESFA cup match against Torquay Boys’ Grammar School earlier this year.

“I’ve been playing for my school and Ivybridge Town for the past few years and I’ve just started playing for Plymouth Argyle,” said Jake, who also plays central midfield, “so to hear that Manchester United had their eye on me was unreal. I didn’t even know I was being watched.”

Jake spent two days at United’s training ground, where he stayed in a players’ lodge and trained with the United’s under 18s’ Academy. “It was an amazing experience,” added Jake, “but I was totally prepared for it, because the training at United is very similar to how we train at Ivybridge. It’s my dream to make it as a professional footballer, and I believe I have a good chance thanks to the amount of extra training and coaching we get at school.”

In addition to their commitments at Plymouth Argyle and Torquay United, Jake and Archie train four times per week as members of Ivybridge Community College’s Football Academy, under the watchful eye of Director of Football Wayne Carlisle and Strength and Conditioning Coach Andy Taylor. Their weekly academy training includes two or three strength and condition sessions – which are tailored to their individual needs – plus two technical and two tactical-based football sessions.

“We’re extremely proud of the boys,” said Wayne, “and it’s now up them to make the most of this fantastic opportunity and show that they have the quality and determination to make it to the top. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s encouraging to know that – even at this early stage in our relationship with Manchester United – they are identifying that there is suitable talent down here in Devon.

“Being noticed by such highly-regarded clubs is also satisfying for us as an academy, as it shows that our system is working and that we can produce players that are capable of reaching a higher level. Jake and Archie are two talented players, but there are also many more of our academy boys that have what it takes to reach those top levels.”

For more information about Ivybridge Community college football academies, visit