Haywards Heath FC link up with former Charlton and Brighton star to boost football's next generation

A former Brighton and Charlton star passing on his football knowledge and skills to the next generation of young players has linked up with a third Sussex club

Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 5:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 5:40 pm
John Robinson in his Charlton days, going toe to toe with Middlesbrough's Jonathan Greening / Picture: Getty

John Robinson grew up in the Sussex town of Newhaven and went on to have a 16-year professional football career.

He played for Brighton & Hove Albion, and during his 12-year career at Charlton Athletic, he was part of the 1998 team that were promoted to the Premier League.

He was a Welsh international for 11 years, and in 2017 was entered into the Charlton Athletic Hall of Fame.

Having run a successful youth academy in Florida for the past ten years, Robinson has returned home to bring his wealth of football knowledge back to where he began.

John Robinson Soccer UK is an independent football academy providing a complete pathway for players aged five to 20 years.

And they have now partnered with Haywards Heath Football Club, making it an exciting time for youth football in the area. As we have already reported, they have also set up links with a couple of clubs in East Sussex - Nwhaven FC and The Saffrons in Eastbourne.

Starting with the entry level pre-Academy, this is an introduction to representative football where children can express themselves freely and grow in self-confidence.

Players then can progress to the academy program and continue to be guided by the highly experienced qualified coaches, with evaluations throughout training and matches.

On Thursday, October 15 and Thursday 22, they are holding their first academy trials at Haywards Heath Football Club.

Boys and girls aged seven to 15 are invited, and players can register on www.johnrobinsonsocceruk.com

In 2021 John Robinson Soccer UK will commence their education programme, offering 16 to 18-year-olds a 2 year NCFE level three diploma (BTEC equivalent) in sport and physical activity, a scheme that will also operate from Haywards Heath FC.

The final step in the pathway for 18 to 20-year olds is the opportunity to attend university in the USA on a football scholarship with John Robinson Soccer USA.

Through the UK football academy and education programme, John Robinson Soccer will guide players and students to reach the ultimate goal of earning a degree and playing football in the USA.

Robinson said: “This is such an exciting time, not only for the youth players in the local community, but also for me personally.

“I started my football career in Sussex, which makes this extra special for me to be back.

“During my professional career, so many times I saw the dreams of many players cut short, with no ‘Plan B’ to fall back on.

“At John Robinson Soccer UK and USA our aim is to nurture and guide young players to reach their full potential, whilst still focusing on their education.

“Haywards Heath Town Football Club share our vision and ethos, so I am delighted we can work together.”

Mark Russ, Haywards Heath FC’s first team coach, said: “John Robinson Soccer UK provides great links for the youth across all our local areas.

“Their philosophy and values are a great match to ours, providing that extra step for all players looking to further their football journey.

“John Robinson Soccer UK provides coaching at an academy level with a team of vastly experienced coaches that have experienced all levels of the game.

“Not only this but they are ‘Proud to be different’ in that they are the only independent academy that really do provide multiple pathways within their network of organisations across Europe and in the USA.

“His vast experience as a player at the highest level, and his countless and growing connections to the world of professional football will be an asset to the community.

“His principles really complement our club ethos here at Haywards Heath FC; ‘Football for all’.

“I really look forward to seeing this partnership grow and the increasing opportunities his academy can bring.”

* Trial dates and time: Thursday 15 October 5-7pm and Thursday 22 October 5-7pm, both sessions for boys and girls. Register at www.johnrobinsonsocceruk.com