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Club News

Rovers secure San Jose link

24 September 2013

Rovers' Academy has established an exciting partnership with San Jose State University, as part of the club's player exit strategy, under the Premier League's new Elite Player Performance Plan.

The direct link will provide any Academy scholars, who are released after two years, with the opportunity to gain a scholarship to play and study in the United States.

A variety of three and four-year scholarship programmes, including Sports Science, Media and Languages, will be available for the boys, who will be treated like professional athletes at the University's first class facilities in California.

They will be signed up to a strict training and games schedule, where they will play against other Division 1 Colleges, both at San Jose's 33,000-seater stadium and across America. 

Picture caption (left to right): Alex Saunders (Volunteer Assistant Coach), Gary St. Clair (Head Coach) Stuart Jones (BRFC Head of Education), Steve Ralos (Assistant Coach), Ron Smare (Associate Head Coach)

Rovers' Head of Education & Welfare, Stuart Jones, said: "We have always supported our players who have been released by trying to fix them up with other clubs or UK universities, but this is a brand new idea, which we hope will have mutual benefits for both the Academy and San Jose University.

"It is a difficult time for the boys and staff when players are released, but if we're giving them fantastic opportunities like this, then they can leave on a more positive note. As soon as they're informed, we want to start this process and discuss their options with their parents and coaches.

"The standard of 'soccer' has vastly improved in recent years and a lot of colleges are now recruiting international players. Whilst playing in the Division 1 games programme, the lads will have the opportunity to get picked up by MLS clubs and there is also a development league they can play in over the summer. There may also be players in America that could be good enough to come over here."

Rovers' Academy manager Phil Cannon added: "A mandatory part of the EPPP is finding exit routes for your players that aren't successful. 

"The first exit route is can we get them fixed up with another club in the lower leagues? If they don't want to continue their football career and they are academically bright then there are other options available to them. 

"A lot more youngsters are going out to America to carry on with their football and do their education, so that is a new route we were keen to explore.

"Staff at San Jose State University came over here to look at our setup and talk to our lads and they were keen to establish a link, so Stuart went over to America to tie up this exciting partnership."

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