Pre-Academy (7-16)

As a recognised National League Football Academy, Dartford FC Academy forms part of our player pathway to First Team football at the club. We aim to create a learning environment where talented young players, many of whom have been at professional clubs, can progress. Whilst winning is important, our emphasis focuses on the way we play. Therefore, we aim to develop players who have tactical, as well as technical, skill by using a well-balanced learning syllabus.

Head of Youth Academy: Russell Searle  Email:

The Academy is divided into two phases, Foundation (u7s-u11s) and Development (u12s-u16s) and this, we believe, meets the requirements of the FA strategy, ‘The Future Game’ and mirrors the approach taken in in the professional academy environments through the Elite Player Performance Plan.

All Academy coaches are fully qualified UEFA B or FA Level 2, or are working towards that minimum standard, and are all DBS checked and 1st Aid trained.

Signed players will have the chance to play against Professional clubs’ academies or other highly experienced, FA recognised, academies; follow a structured training syllabus, attend Player Progress meetings and have a clear pathway to the post +16 Academy and, ultimately, to Dartford FC 1st Team. All games are filmed for analysis and players have access to the club’s Physio and Sports Science Department.

 At u16s (school year 11), our players trial for the club’s main Academy, if they have achieved the standards required. Here, the signed Academy players continue their education, for  school years 12 & 13, by taking a BTECH course at the Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park, whilst receiving football coaching and representing the Academy in the National League Football Academy South and in the SCL Development League.

For further details please see

Foundation Phase

This phase focuses on the development of our u7s – u11s (school years 2-6). At these ages we focus on Agility, Balance & Coordination, the ABCs. Fun and technique are paramount. Whilst it is serious training, we like the players to learn and develop in a more ‘discovered learning’ environment, so developing an inquiring mind and approach is key. A mild sense of self-discipline will be instilled as well.

Head of Youth Academy: Russell Searle                       Email:

Lead Foundation Phase Coach:  Nick Farrell    Email:

To enquire about joining a Foundation Squad contact:

Head of Recruitment:  John O’Sullivan            Email:

Please note: Our club policy insists we only take players who can attend each required training session, so they must live within easy travelling distance from Dartford.

Foundation Phase Coaches:

Nick Farrell, Warren Bull, Darren Corley, Elliot Leverson, JamesTown, Ted Cowap, Paul Feltham 

Development Phase

This phase focuses on the development of our U12’s – U16’s. Whilst technical ability is still key in terms of the player development process, our players start to learn about the bigger game. Roles, responsibilities and tactical application on the field come above winning. Whilst a winning mentality is strongly encouraged, it is not at the cost of losing sight of playing our style of football. Developing players who can readily adapt and cope with all scenarios during a game is our aim. To be able to read a game and understand what is required as both an individual player and as a squad member, whilst being strongly disciplined, will, hopefully, see the necessary development to obtain a place in our main Academy and be a further step on the pathway to the First Team squad.

Lead Development Phase Coach: Zach Bowden    Email:

To enquire about joining a Development Squad contact:

Lead Recruitment Officer: John O’Sullivan      Email:

Please note: Our club policy insists we only take players who can attend each required training session, so they must live within easy travelling distance from Dartford.

Development Squad Coaches:

Russ Searle, Zack Bowden, Manraj Dhesi, Zack Hamid, Nick Farrell,  Macneil Owusu, Liam Read, Lee Smith, Ted Cowap,  Jake Langford

Goalkeeper coaches   –   James Town & Paul Feltham

The Academy is financially supported through a parental contributory model, managed by the Dartford FC Youth Development Centre Community Interest Company. An annual £60 membership fee is paid, which includes a Season Ticket for the 1st Team, and, in addition, the Foundation phase squads pay £30 and the Development phase squads pay £50 per month subscriptions. The payments pay for everything except for playing kit and accessories. Foundation squad players receive 1.5 hours coaching per week and the Development phase players 3 hours per week.