Derby County announced details of their groundbreaking Own The Region project in early 2016.

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.

Own The Region will provide 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 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.”

Ayrton Wassall and Harry Croft 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.