Gloucestershire football academy wants to bridge gap between grassroots and academy football

Bridge Football Academy are bringing through the next crop of talented football players from across Gloucestershire area.

The academy welcomes players with aspirations to reach the top. Providing sessions for all age groups upwards of six years of age, the academy have recently opened trials for under-16 and under-17 groups.

Academy Director Nick Housden has links to many professional clubs and wants to bridge the gap between grassroots and academy football.


Passionate about developing players, Housden told Park Life Sport: “I have worked at Notts County and Torquay, and through my experiences with those clubs I saw that there was a massive gap between grassroots and academy football.

“I was just trying to come up with a programme to help fill that gap.”

Housden has strong links to clubs throughout the Midlands and South-West including Wolves, West Brom, Yeovil Town, Forest Green Rovers and others. 

“Because of the clubs that are around here, mostly League One and League Two clubs, I think if players can get picked up and get into a system early enough they’ve got a good chance of progressing in the game, and of course those clubs don’t have the sort of budget to send out mass scouts to watch games.”

“So by having a programme, players are already identified by local coaches, so the clubs like Cheltenham, Forest Green and Bristol Rovers don’t have the capacity to send out scouts to every game.

“It makes it harder to identify but once there’s players in the programmes it’s easier, I think Gloucestershire has done quite well.”

Housden has also scheduled fixtures against Cheltenham Town and introduced a one-to-one programme for goalkeepers in the academy.

With vast experience within both professional academy and semi-professional football, Housden is due to complete his UEFA A License in the coming months.

He manages large teams of staff both on and off the pitch with existing companies and is educated to degree level.

Housden was recently appointed Cheltenham Town Talent ID Manager. He said: “I work within the academy as a coach with the under-15’s and 16’s.

“In terms of the Talent ID role, I work with local clubs to spot the best talent from across Gloucestershire, so I head up the whole scouting network to target games, certain positions and age groups, then go out and find the players.”

“I love what I do because I am passionate about it”

The Bridge Academy aims to make the jump from grassroots to academy football seamless, with some players already catching the eye of professional clubs. Many of the Bridge Academy coaches are currently at professional clubs, allowing for easier identification and transitional periods for young players. 

“For the Bridge programme, it’s perfect because if we have players that were at Cheltenham or maybe they were released, or don’t want to join Cheltenham for whatever reason, there’s other clubs that we can feed those players into.

“It’s logistically easier for parents and also from a players point of view, and also from the clubs.”

Housden has recruited more than 70 young players for the Bridge Football Academy in the last year.

“I love what I do because I am passionate about it. I’ve worked with various lads that are playing either professionally, or

If you are looking to arrange a trial, you can click here and complete a registration form.

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