Valley Gold helps fund young footballers’ Academy pathways

Valley Gold, a fan-led membership scheme founded in 1989, has agreed to support the Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) Advanced Centre this year. Following a name change, it will become known as the Valley Gold Advanced Centre.

As Valley Gold already funds the Charlton Athletic Academy to unearth the talents of tomorrow through memberships and competitions, it was a natural progression for them to support the Advanced Centre, which acts as CACT’s pathway into the Academy.

The Valley Gold Advanced Centre offers talented young players from CACT’s community programmes the chance to train weekly whilst following a specialised Charlton Athletic Academy curriculum.

CACT recently had a visit from former Charlton Athletic player and Advanced Centre success story Scott Wagstaff. Scott was one of the first young people to reach Charlton’s Academy via the Advanced Centre.

Matt Baker, Chair of Valley Gold, said:

“At Valley Gold we are always looking for new ways we can help support Charlton in producing the best possible players for the academy.  We are therefore delighted to enter into a new partnership to fund this season’s Advanced Centres to ensure the next generation of young players are discovered and playing for the Addicks!”

A significant number of Academy players over the past year have come through the CACT pathway and have been regularly training at the Charlton Athletic Training Ground from a young age with the Advanced Centre.

10-year-old Kayden (pictured, middle) first started attending the Advanced Centre in November 2021 after being scouted by the Charlton Athletic Academy’s Dipo Obanubi.

After working with CACT coaches in regular sessions, Kayden stood out and was invited to trials for the Charlton Athletic Academy in April 2022.

He was invited to sign with the Academy at the start of this season.

Nabil Bashir, Kayden’s father, said:

“I was happy that he [Kayden] was able to express himself in the Advanced Centre. As Kayden is very good on the ball technically and very dominant in 1v1 situations, he was able to keep this side of his game whilst learning the Charlton way of teaching the game.

“Charlton teach the young players the sweet science of football and this shows in their results across all age groups. The ability that he had on top of what he has been taught has only made him a better player.”

Bradley Marshall, CACT’s Senior Football & Sports Development Officer, said:

“Kayden was sent in through our academy scouts. He already had excellent ability but proved this over a considerable amount of time which led us to recommend him for a trial.

“Being at the Advanced Centre before his trial enabled him to have confidence and transition smoothly into the academy environment. It’s great to be working closely with the recruitment team at CAFC to enable these opportunities for young players.

“With Valley Gold supporting the centre for this season we are excited to see how many players we can improve, provide playing opportunities against the academy teams and from there see which players are capable to be put forward for trial.”

If you would like to help support young talented players, consider signing up to Valley Gold now!

Participants from CACT’s regular football programmes who show considerable talent enjoy opportunities to play in front of Advanced Centre scouts. There are still places available to sign your child up for one of our Christmas holiday football courses taking place in New Eltham, Maidstone and Ashford!

Valley Gold enables supporters to play a pivotal role in the future of Charlton Athletic by helping the club to unearth talented footballers through its youth system. Valley Gold is entirely supporter-funded, with membership costing £120 per year. As a member of Valley Gold, you will also have the opportunity to scoop up to £5,000 in regular cash prizes. To learn more about the scheme or to become a Valley Gold member, please click here.