Footy Star Academy is here

Getting together, having fun: Some of the 158 participants in Saturday morning's activities at New Gisborne.

The launch of the Clinton Young Footy Star Academy on Saturday morning represents a further boost for Australian Rules in Gisborne and the Macedon Ranges, and eventually Sunbury.
There were 158 young footballers taking part in the special free clinic held at Holy Cross Catholic Primary School at New Gisborne.
At a time when football and other sports in the district and beyond have been severely disrupted through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Saturday’s event launch was a beacon of hope, and provided some overdue enjoyment for the enthusiastic participants and onlookers.
“It was pretty hectic, but it went really well,” Clinton Young reflected afterwards.
Young, an elite AFL premiership player with 137 games behind him with Hawthorn and Collingwood, is well known in the area having spent three years playing with and coaching Gisborne, up until the end of 2019. He was appointed as midfield coach at Williamstown this year.
He grew up in Minyip, went to St Patrick’s College in Ballarat, and was recruited by Hawthorn in the 2004 draft, becoming well known as a versatile player with a raking left-foot kick.
Young is a firm believer in the Footy Star Academy program, having spent several years working as a skills coach and mentor with FSA headed by Brownlow Medallist Simon Black at Moorabbin.
The Footy Star Academy concept began about 20 years ago, and has since spread Australia-wide, branching into other sports apart from Australian Rules.
Young said he welcomed the opportunity to take up the FSA franchise opportunity in this part of Victoria.
“We are a passionate team dedicated to developing skills footy for the next generation of players,” he said.
“It’s an all-year-round opportunity for kids from the age of five up to 16 to develop their skills to be the best they can, while having fun with their friends.”
Qualified coaches are readily available, with Gisborne’s outstanding footballer-cricketer Pat McKenna already being involved.
Understandably, Young is the head coach of the new district FSA, and brings a wealth of sporting knowledge to the role. His wife Bec is helping out on the administration and promotional side, having worked with Essendon Football Club.
Holy Cross Primary School is to be used as a base for the programs.
On Saturday morning the young clinic participants were divided into three age groups, with a coach/instructor for every nine players.
Favorable weather conditions prevailed, and there were giveaways as well, including Sherrin football key rings.

Ready for action: Pat McKenna (at left) and Clinton Young at the Footy Sports Academy free bonanza clinic on Saturday.