Football Academy places are up for grabs

editorial image
Share this article

THE Mentors of Excellence in Football Scheme, founded in 2011, is set for a relaunch.

The scheme’s objective was to set up a 16-21 age group football club, with player preparation not dissimilar to that seen at the top clubs in the country, using expertise of staff in coaching, sports psychology, exercise physiology and elite player development skills.

Eight players progressed into professional football, five in the Blue Square North, one in the Scottish Second Division, and two at Major League Soccer clubs.

There were 35 players who enrolled, while there was a development squad playing exhibition matches against the likes of Australia and Japan Under 19s, Stalybridge Celtic and Stockport Sports.

However, the huge success of the scheme saw Majid Shafiq requested by Stalybridge Celtic to set up their Under 19 scholars academy.

The Celtic Academy was also successful, helping over 60 players receive elite coaching, while following an education programme and playing youth football at Stalybridge.

But Shafiq is back to relaunch MEFS for a new 16-24 age group to begin with, with trials this month and next.

There are also plans to expand to junior and youth squads.

Each player and coach is profiled and placed on a development programme from the outset, with a specific programme for the players based on their strengths, areas of development, playing position and in the case of coaches joining, all will undergo professional development through regular workshops and a personal development project at intervals.

MEFS is all about giving players and coaches a great experience and opportunity, and 30 places are available, of which eight have already been filled.

There is also a vacancy for three coaches who would like to develop their elite player development skills.

All roles are voluntary.

To apply for a trial or if you are a coach, to arrange a meeting with Shafiq,,ring 07886683004 or e-mail

There is also a website,

Shafiq said: “As a professional and someone who has probably seen it all with young player and coach development over 24 years and in nine sports.

“The youth of today probably don’t see the value of elite sport and how it could develop their confidence to work in sport or take the strong skills into another profession. As a father of two, both are playing elite level in several sports – I feel the importance of having good coaching with lots of intellectual understanding of youth player development is critical. This comes through many years of education, experience in sport science, and physical education.”