Northern Regional College (NRC) has netted a ‘Manchester United Soccer Schools’ (MUSS) specialist sports Academy which will kick off shortly at Ballymena Showgrounds.
NRC offers a range of sport related courses at their Ballymena campus and its Sports Department has been at the forefront of new developments in sport academies.
Launched in 1999, MUSS takes great pride in developing, recruiting and training the best possible coaches and the programme with NRC will help provide a core of well qualified young soccer coaches in the Ballymena area.
The course was given its first franchise in 2012 with NRC only the second to secure it.
Bringing details of the special sports Academy to last Monday night’s Community Planning and Wellbeing Committee of Council, Officer Karen Hargan sought approval for the College’s request to use facilities at Ballymena Showgrounds.
This involves the use of 3G pitch for two and a half hours and the meeting room for an hour and a half every Thursday throughout the 2013-14 academic year.
Mrs Hargan said that NRC had requested a reduced charge for the facilities but pointed out that the suggested booking times were for off-peak periods throughout the year when the facilities were under utilised.
She added that other council facilities including the Leisure Centre offer a subsidised rate for school use at off-peak times and that Council had been advised by NRC that they would be recognised in publicity or marketing material in recognition of their support for what would be the only Man Utd. soccer schools training course in the province.
Responding to a concern from Cllr Paul Frew that to approve a reduction could set a costly precedent for Council with regard to other clubs in the borough who, he said, were under pressure at present,
Mrs Hargan, however, pointed out that the booking would increase use of the facilities at the Showgrounds at a period of low usage and bring in income.
Members subsequently agreed to approve a 40% reduction in the hire charge for the 3G pitch with the cost of the meeting room hire to remain the same.
Their decision will go forward to the full monthly Council meeting next month for ratification.