‘Elite’ students get trial with Man United and Everton

Published October 11th, 2009 - 01:37 GMT

Two students from the Transguard Elite Sporting Academy (TESA) have held trials at two leading English Premiership clubs – an early result for the Academy, which only opened its doors in March.

Fabien Speiss, a 15-year-old goalkeeper who attends Emirates International School, trialled at Everton while nine-year-old Bobby Corish from Jebel Ali Primary School had his week-long trial extended to a month at Manchester United. Fabien also underwent training at Middle Eastern-owned Notts County.

Both boys impressed on trial and Corish is currently waiting for his next opportunity to return to the Man United youth set up during the next school holiday. Speiss on the other hand, may accept a professional contract and negotiations have been initiated by a number of English clubs.

Putting the boys’ achievements into context, John Mamea-Wilson, TESA Director, commented:

”Football is now a truly global game and the English Premiership is the best league in the world. Literally hundreds of thousands of young hopefuls from every continent will never realise their dreams and rub shoulders with their idols. So this is an exceptional achievement for Fabian and Bobby and speaks volumes for the academy.”     

Indeed, Mamea-Wilson attributed the overall success of TESA to resident football coaches Carlton Palmer and his assistant Kirk Hilton, who have quickly struck up a formidable partnership.

“Carlton’s record in football speaks for itself as a former England player, long-time Premiership player and manager, while Kirk went right through Manchester United from a young age and ended his playing days at Belgian club Royal Antwerp,” he said.

The pair have been able to draw on their years of combined experience and extensive contacts. Fabien’s chance to shine at Everton was provided through TESA co-founder and ‘Toffees’ player Tim Cahill.

“Because of their pedigree, Carlton and Kirk are constantly being approached by scouts looking for untapped talent,” added Mamea-Wilson. “We’ve hosted former Norwich player and TV commentator Effon Ekoku and former England player Les Ferdinand, who is now representing Tottenham Hotspur.”

Mamea-Wilson was careful not to put too much pressure on the promising pair, but admitted, “Fabien and Bobby now have a reputation to live up to but the academy will keep their feet on the ground. Not only developing but managing talent are key attributes of the academy – we take our responsibilities seriously,” he said.

However, he stressed that, despite the Elite name and image, the academy takes children of all abilities and everyone benefits from the same quality of coaching.

“As long as the kids come here with the right attitude and are prepared to work hard, they will see obvious improvements both on the pitch and off it,” he said. “We have had many parents comment on how the academy has improved their child’s development not only on the pitch, but in the classroom and at home.”

The academy, in which Transguard Group is the majority stakeholder, is set in 1.3 million square feet on the Repton campus in Nad Al Sheba with state-of-the-art facilities.


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