Derby County have today announced details about their groundbreaking Own The Region project.

Own The Region is an initiative, created by the club’s Owner and Chairman Mel Morris, looking to provide enhanced and specialist coaching and learning opportunities for the young people of the Derbyshire area.

Over the coming months and years, Own The Region will be providing free coaching and support to all schools and grassroot clubs within the local community, as well as increasing the profile of Derby County across the local area and beyond.

The vision is to inspire young people to enjoy football as part of their social and physical development and wellbeing, as well as motivating young people to participate and compete individually and as part of a team.

Importantly, a key target is to help elevate the standard of football in the region at all levels and to help provide an opportunity for young people to fulfil their potential.

Some of the key plans for Own The Region include:

School Support

UEFA licensed coaches will be providing specialised coaching during PE lessons or supporting the school teams. The initiative can therefore be tailored to an individual school’s requirement.

Grassroot Support

UEFA licensed coaches will also be providing the same service as above to grassroot teams throughout the region, giving both players and coaches the opportunity to develop.

Coach Association Nights

The Derby County Academy is offering the opportunity for coaches and teachers across the region to take part in a Coach Education Programme. The Academy are welcoming each club and school to apply and attend training sessions presented by Academy staff and guest coaches at the Derby County Training Centre in partnership with the University of Derby. This will include coaching plans from the sessions can be taken away and the chance for the coach’s team or school to become an official partner of Derby County Academy.

Emerging Talent Centres

Promising players from local schools and teams will be given advanced football education in the Own The Region ‘Emerging Talent’ centres spread across the region to their progress and development can be monitored over a longer period of time.

Video Analysis

Teams and schools will be given the opportunity to have their matches and training sessions filmed by the Own The Region team in order to provide detailed video analysis and feedback.

Own The Region Objectives

* To improve grass roots coaching to help young people develop and excel in football

* To develop coaching programmes to maximise youth potential

* To share Derby County Academy’s methods and values

* To promote health, education and overall development of young people

* To recognise and celebrate individual and team success

* To promote honesty and integrity

* To create the opportunity to identify and develop the stars of the future

* To promote the overall image of Derby County in the local community

Derby County Chairman Mel Morris said: “Own The Region is all about making sure that we help increase the quality and number of players coming through the system at grassroots level in the county and beyond.

“We want to find local talent and help them develop and Own The Region can help provide high quality football coaching to help make that happen.

“If we can help increase the quality at grassroots level we believe we’ll see higher quality players come through in our region, in the long term.

“It would be fantastic in years to come to see Derby County have a number of local players playing in the team.”

He added: “What would be a measure of success for us from this? If we start finding a cluster of Derbyshire schools heading the charts in terms of their inter-school games then it will be a fantastic result. It is about helping people achieve higher standards and maybe in the future they’ll be on our books.”

Derby County’s President & Chief Executive Sam Rush said: “It continues to be the ambition of Derby County to once again become a Barclays Premier League club and to embrace the opportunities which that platform will provide us.

“We will do this in a disciplined and financially responsible way and the Academy is at the forefront of this vision.

“We aim to produce a predominance of talented homegrown players to improve business efficiencies, effectiveness and economies that provide best value to our supporters and work within its means.

“Own The Region is a fantastic project and this can only be of benefit to the local community, especially the schools and local teams.

“We want to make a difference and the vision that our Chairman Mel Morris has shown is fantastic and I really do believe Own The Region can make a big impact in the local area.”

Derby County’s Academy Director Darren Wassall explained: “We take youth development extremely seriously here at Derby County and I think there’s little doubt that Own The Region will be a success.

“First and foremost, we’re committing to the local community to help make a difference in the local area to enhance the level of quality that young players possess.

“We have a high level of coaches in our Academy so local schools and clubs will benefit from their expert coaching.”

Derby County goalkeeper Lee Grant, whose son True is a player in the club’s Academy, has taken up the role of Own The Region ambassador.

Grant, 32, came through the Rams’ Academy ranks as a youngster and is now enjoying his second spell at the club after re-joining from Burnley in the summer of 2013.

He said: “I am thrilled to be an ambassador for Own The Region - which I think is a fantastic project.

“Derby County is a community club and it is brilliant to see the club making such an effort to make an impact in the Derbyshire area.

“Mel Morris’ vision for the club is very exciting and it is pleasing to see that the focus isn’t just on the here and now - but what is happening in the future as well.”

Ayrton Wassall and Harry Croft will oversee the running of the project and can be contacted at [email protected], on Facebook (by searching Own The Region) or on Twitter using the handle @dcfc_OTR.

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