Everton has entered into a partnership with local academy outfit, Legends Academy, the EPL club has confirmed on their website.
The Harare-based organisation becomes the newest addition to Everton’s International Academy Affiliate Programme (EIAAP), which aims to expand the knowledge and expertise of Everton’s player development processes to affiliated clubs at all tiers of the game across the world.
This includes access to the finest coaching knowledge from Everton’s renowned Academy to support with player development and growth – a level of support that sets it apart from more traditional models.
As a partner, Legends Football Academy will also have full access to the Everton Academy curriculum and monthly support from a dedicated Everton Academy coach, along with the offer of technical support from Everton’s Finch Farm training complex and business and marketing support from its Royal Liver Building business headquarters.
The two clubs will also collaborate on coach development and education.
The academy, which was established in 2015 with the goal of developing gifted young footballers, has opened its doors to players from diverse backgrounds and been successful in producing professional footballers for local and regional leagues.
Due to these successes, the academy has sought partners in achieving its next goal of developing players capable of playing professional football in international and European leagues.
Farai Dhliwayo, founder of the Legends Football Academy Zimbabwe, said: “We are delighted to join forces with Everton, one of the most distinguished and storied clubs in English football.
“This is a partnership that serves as a natural progression to the programmes we have been running, where we have a goal to transition into a more professional academy, developing players capable of playing in top leagues.
“Everton has a proven track record of developing world class talents, so to benefit from their vast knowledge and resources represents us with a wonderful opportunity.”
Farai, whose passion and enthusiasm for developing players aligns perfectly with the Club’s values, added: “Everton also has a strong history of being a family club with strong ties to its community, and here at the Legends Football Academy we welcome young players, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds in the community we serve.”
Everton International Technical Lead, Paddy Byrne, plans to make a future visit to Zimbabwe to assist in sharing the Everton Academy curriculum and implement methods used at Finch Farm to develop both player and coaching skills.
This will help to provide further knowledge and resources to assist with the Club’s goal to develop the stars of tomorrow across all regions of the globe.
Byrne added: “We are delighted to welcome Legends Football Academy Zimbabwe as a partner club to Everton’s International Academy Affiliate programme.
“I’m excited to work alongside Farai and his team, and by sharing our values and coaching methods we can build on the strong foundations of our affiliate programme and strengthen Everton’s bond in Africa.
“I am sure this will prove a fruitful partnership for both clubs, and we can’t wait to get started.”
Everton’s International Academy Affiliate Club programme, which is available to grassroots teams, professional sides, youth academies, girls’ and women’s teams, as well as colleges and universities, was launched in 2020.
Legends Football Academy Zimbabwe becomes the second affiliate club in Africa, following a partnership announced earlier last year with Ghana’s Ridge City Women, the first women’s club to join the programme.
The EIAAP programme also has affiliates in the US, Canada, Africa, South America, Australia and Ireland.