Date: Mon 01 Oct 2018

By Jason Mills

The Southern League Football Academy

The Southern Football League is delighted to announce, the creation of its very own education and football programme, the Southern League Football Academy (SLFA) which will commence in September 2019.

Partnering with Eliteform who are the organisation behind the NPL Football Academy (NPLFA) – the first of it’s kind in the UK when created in 2014 – they will be bringing their expertise and experience down south to create a sister programme for the Southern Football League.

Eight clubs have applied to be the inaugural members of the concept, AFC Dunstable, Chesham United, Frome Town, Kidlington, Larkhall Athletic, Swindon Supermarine, Yate Town and Chalfont St Peter who signed up to the programme before they were placed in the Isthmian League and recruitment begins today for current Year 11 students with the programme scheduled to begin in September 2019.

Students aged between 16-18 will have the opportunity to study for a BTEC in Sport Level 3 (Diploma and Extended Diploma available) or a NVQ Level 2 in the mornings and train with an UEFA qualified coach in the afternoons three days a week whilst representing their local SLFA club in the SLFA league and cup which take places on Wednesday afternoons.

The two-year programme is open to anyone who meets the grades requirements and trials will be held over the next eleven months to fill the maximum of twenty-two places available.

There are many pathways from the programme, in the NPLFA off the pitch many students have progressed to higher education such as UK university, US scholarships and the programmes own Degree Course in Sports Business and Sports Management which will be replicated in the SLFA. On the pitch, students will have the opportunity to progress to the first teams of their respective clubs which at the time stands at thirty-eight football gradutes in the NPLFA with a further three going on to earn professional contractions with EFL clubs.

Southern Football League chairman Terry Barratt on the news “We are delighted to create along with Eliteform our very own league-wide education and football programme here at the Southern Football League. Having seen the success of the Northern Premier League Football Academy, we were eager to see this fantastic concept be replicated within our league at our member clubs.”

He further added “As seen in the North, combining education and football is a perfect blend which not only creates footballing pathways to the first team but also provides opportunities in the sporting industry through the qualifications and the real experience our clubs will be delivered. The success that Eliteform has delivered speaks for itself and we are looking forward to creating this fantastic concept in 2019.”

Eliteform spokesman Darren Royle was equally delighted at the news “We are proud to partner with another league with an excellent reputation with fantastic member clubs and we are excited to bring the concept of what we have created with the NPL Football Academy to another area in the UK in an initial pilot year. The eight clubs who have chosen to sign up for the programme all believe in the scheme for the right reasons which is providing opportunities to young people that might not have been available to them previously in the local area. What we offer is unique to any other programme out there, be it at a local college, at a football club or a private company and with the experience and expertise we have gained over the past four years in the NPLFA, seeing the programme grow from five clubs and 75 students to seventeen clubs and 350 students we are confident and looking forward to creating our sister programme in the South.”

Whilst there are many education and football programmes out there, the SLFA offer something unique to add to the experience of the students during their two years with the programme, whether that is playing in only the second FA sanctioned league of this type (after the NPLFA), to all games being filmed by Eliteform’s filming partners FilmMyMatch.

The first trials of the year take place in the forthcoming October half-term holidays and the details can be viewed at

To register your interest and apply, please visit and like, follow and share the SLFA’s social media channels:-