I have always been supportive of a system that can breathe, something where players may come in and out but still end up playing at the top level, this idea from Jamie and V9 gives some players just that opportunity. You only have to look at our recent Senior Team squad where three players, Chris Smalling, Michail Antonio and Jamie himself, have come through from non-league football. I really hope that it is successful and that some of the players taking part go onto hit the heights of professional and International football. I wish everyone involved the best of luck
Dan Ashworth
Technical Director at Brighton and Hove Albion FC
Having come through non league football myself, I have always championed Academys such as Jamie Vardy’s V9. Ian Wright, Stuart Pearce and John Barnes were all my team mates when I was playing at International level for England, and we all started in non league football. It is important to realise that players develop at different rates, and the V9 Academy caters for this. I wish Jamie and everyone involved every success, and I look forward to seeing the players taking part develop, hopefully to the highest level in football.
Les Ferdinand
Queens Park Rangers Director of Football
Jamie’s journey and his determination to never give up should be an example to every young aspiring player in the modern game. In an era where the demands for instant return and results could leave many people without hope, the V9 Academy is an amazing opportunity to keep the dream alive. The V9 academy is giving players a second chance that might have missed the out the first time round. I support Jamie and his team with this academy and am looking forward to seeing the players in action in the very near future. I hope some of the academy hopefuls can follow Jamie’s footsteps and take his story as a true example of inspiration and commitment that you need to make it to the top. Good luck and don’t give up.
Mike Rigg
Sporting Director at Burnley FC
An environment whereby the best players from non-league are provided with an opportunity to flourish within a top professional environment can only be a positive. I really hope Jamie and his team can unearth talent with the mentality and determination to follow in his footsteps. I wish this project the very best of luck.
Stuart Webber
Sporting Director at Norwich City
Far too long in this country do we disregard talent at too young an age. The development line that Jamie took going back to the real earthy stuff off non league proved that it can be a breading ground for those who still have development in them. The formation of the V9 Academy is a wonderful initiative that will in time produce players good enough to play the game at the highest level.
Steve Walsh
Former Director of Football at Everton
The City Football Academy was designed to provide all of our footballers, across all age groups and genders, with training facilities that would support and inspire them to reach their full potential. We are delighted that Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy, which is also committed to helping players achieve their goals on the pitch, will be hosted here and we wish everyone taking part the best of luck.
Brian Marwood
Managing Director at Manchester City
The Jamie Vardy story is one of football’s great fairytales and should give inspiration to every player still striving to achieve their ambitions. Not just the youngster with their whole career in front of them but also that slightly older player who still genuinely believes that they’ve just not had that lucky break. The V9 Academy project is an opportunity for these players and one that I’m sure many will wish to grab. If the lads approach it with the same tenacity and desire that Jamie did himself then one of these players life could change forever. I wish everyone the very best of luck.
Nick Hammond
Head of Recruitment at Celtic
Giving players a 2nd chance, or opportunity to shine when they aren’t in the spot light of the upper echelons of English Football is something that I have always thought was a great idea. Many of my friends had early careers at professional football clubs only to fall short and slip into the non league. Bouncing back for them was difficult and many of their lives took a different path, although watching Wade Elliott go from Bashley town in the late 90’s to score the Premier League promotion winning goal for Burnley in 2009 was an incredible experience for all his friends and family watching him live that day and shows that anything in Football is possible. Players like Jamie Vardy, Kevin Phillips and Les Ferdinand show not only that great goal scorers can rise from non league to the top, but they can also go on to represent their country at the highest level. I’d like to wish everyone involved the best of luck and really hope this can provide the platform for more unseen talent to come through and perform on a bigger if not the biggest stage.
Michael Edwards
Sporting Director at Liverpool
From personal experience I can say that players from the non-league sphere often go undetected at the professional level. A scheme such as this could prove invaluable in aiding the development of good young players coming through from the lower echelons of domestic football. I would cite players such as; Charlie Austin ( Hungerford Town, Poole Town ) Harry Arter ( personally scouted by Eddie Howe at Woking ) Che Adams ( Alfreton Town ) Duncan Watmore ( Altrincham ) Joe Lolley ( Redditch United, Kidderminster Harriers ) All are relatively recent converts from Conference level and below, to Championship and Premier League players now. Each one of these players were scouted by me in one guise or another, at their respective non-league clubs. Any innovative system that aids and accelerates the process of developing players through the grades would be a great addition to the professional structure. I wish Jamie all the best in his efforts to replicate his own rapid rise to stardom for young individuals that would possibly remain relatively anonymous in the present system.
Des Taylor
Chief Scout at Bournemouth
It gives me great pleasure to endorse the V9 Academy. Jamie’s rise from non-league to international football demonstrates what can be achieved if players are offered the right opportunity. Any non-league club with an authentic interest in the development of their young players will hopefully get behind this project
Kevin Thelwell
Sporting Director at Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
V9 Academy helped me achieve my dream of becoming a professional even after I thought the opportunity had passed due to my age. I signed for Stevenage at 26 years old and have gone on to play over 100 football league games and counting. I went from working a 50 hour week and playing football part time to living out my childhood dream of being a full time professional footballer. This is all thanks to the V9 Academy for giving me the platform and the opportunity.
Danny Newton
V9 2017 - now playing for Stevenage FC
Jamie Vardy's academy helped kickstart my professional career massively and allowed people in my position to show off their abilities to scouts and clubs who would never get the chance to watch games at the level I was playing at. The week at the Etihad Campus also allowed the players at the academy to live like a premier league player and share the same experiences players at that level would have on a day-to-day basis.
Sam McCallum
V9 2018 - now playing for Norwich City FC