by Gerard Walsh
TIM Gaske has one primary aim for the Southern Downs Football Academy - to help every child go as far as they can in the sport.
The academy was formed at a meeting last week and will have its own identity and work alongside local and regional bodies to boost interest in football in the area.
The academy is currently in discussions about a training facility.
Gaske, formerly of Stanthorpe, is director of coaching at the academy which so far has attracted 93 players, aged four to 15, on the books from 54 families.
There are eight coaches, five who are completing their national C licence, which means they can coach in the National Premier League up to under-13 level.
Academy president Scott Clegg said the Southern Downs Football Academy wanted to keep a strong relationship with local clubs.
"Branding us Southern Downs will hopefully attract more players from a wider area, including Stanthorpe,” he said.
Both stressed it was an academy, not a club, and would not run a fixture competition.
"We have coaching for 90 minutes each Tuesday and Thursday for 40 weeks of the year,” Gaske said.
"The academy wants players to have the same training, year in, year out. "The coaching up to ages 12 and 13 will be skill based and then more game related for the older kids.
"We are looking at some extra training with other academies like the Total Football Academy at the Gold Coast and hope to bring academy coaches from West Bromwich Albion to the Southern Downs again.
"Similar academies to ours have developed players for national competitions.”
Academy training will start this week and annual costs from $150 to $270 depending on age.
There is no charge for the third child in a family.