English Martyrs, Hartlepool

In the summer of 2016, Hartlepool’s English Martyrs School in Catcote Road became the second Academy to adopt Improtech Soccer as provider for its new Football Academy. One year later and Improtech was launched in the 2017-2018 academic year, creating its first team and positioning itself for a future over the next few years of rapid expansion. With the experience of many years running the Football Academy at Kepier, Improtech has been able to ensure the seamless recruitment and launch of the new Academy.

The first English Martyrs Soccer Academy intake, 2017

The nature of Improtech Elite Academies means they cannot be on each other’s doorsteps - they have to have their own region to exclusively recruit talent from. The introduction of Improtech Soccer into Hartlepool was a perfect fit for English Martyrs too and will hopefully be of long-term benefit not only to the school itself but to the wider community and to Hartlepool United FC. Martyrs head Stephen Hammond said: “We were absolutely thrilled to have Improtech Soccer become our providers for the new Football Academy.

“They are the leading supplier of elite football coaching in education in the North East and have a fantastic track record of taking young prospects and developing them into players that get signed by professional football clubs. Martyrs already had a reputation for producing quality footballers - most notably Andy and David Linighan of course - but with the new Academy the school is hoping to take it to the next level in terms of numbers. In the next few years we’re determined to develop a reputation as the ‘go-to’ school for talented players who want to make the very best of their abilities, both in education and football.”

The new Football Academy’s arrival was welcomed by Hartlepool United youth coach Anthony Sweeney. He said: “Clubs like Hartlepool United depend on young players coming through and the fact we’ve got a UEFA Pro Licence coach training these lads in Hartlepool is fantastic. Martin used to coach me and I learned so much from what he did that I try to incorporate elements of it into my own coaching.”

The launch of the new Football Academy is being underpinned by regular evening football sessions being held on Tuesdays after school for young footballers from five years old up to 16.

Martin Scott and English Martyrs School head Stephen Hammond celebrate the launch of the new Football Academy in Hartlepool
Antony Sweeney, head of youth recruitment at Hartlepool United, meets Martin Scott - the coach who used to train him.
Martin Scott meets former Improtech student James Martin - who earned a professional contract with Hartlepool United - at the launch of the new Football Academy at Martyrs.

“We were absolutely thrilled to have Improtech Soccer become our providers - they have a fantastic track record.”
English Martyrs head Stephen Hammond.