IRVINE Meadow are to launch a strong youth development programme which will be “paramount” in the club’s ambitions to move up the pyramid system.

The Meadow Park side are currently recruiting players for their under-17s squad which will create a clear player pathway between youth development and professional football.

It comes as the club’s under-20s side recently applied to join the new West of Scotland Development League.

Assistant manager David Gillies said: “Myself, Colin Spence and James Latta are just in the door at Meadow but we want to make player recruitment a top priority and make sure we do it well.

“I think in the past the club has neglected the development side but my background is in player recruitment so we want to attract the best young players.

“Our aim is to move up the pyramid system and if we have a strong youth development programme then that is only going to benefit us in the long-run.”

The assistant boss has high hopes for the scheme and is aiming to challenge some of the club’s rivals in years to come in attracting the best young players.

He said: “This programme will be good not only for the club but also for the whole area.

“You don’t see children playing football in parks after school anymore so we want them to start playing and we want to bring in young people who are hungry and want to be footballers.

“The overall aim is for us to have players who start at a young age with us and work their way up to the first-team.

“We hope in a few years that young players will look to join us instead of Ayr United or Kilmarnock because we offer a pathway quicker to first-team football.

“Some clubs will go down the line of just signing established players and of course we will do that to an extent but we will also use the youth programme to produce first-team players and I think it is an exciting time for the club.”

Players interested in joining the under-17s team should email:


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