Caldwell USA-bound with AFL Academy

AFL Academy member Jye Caldwell ahead of his trip to the United States. Picture: NONI HYETT
AFL Academy member Jye Caldwell ahead of his trip to the United States. Picture: NONI HYETT

Jye Caldwell will take the next step in his football career when he leaves for the United States next week with the AFL Academy.

The Golden Square, Bendigo Pioneers and Geelong Grammar midfielder is one of 36 players in the AFL Academy who will take part in a training camp at the prestigious IMG Academy in Florida.

AFL recruiters will also attend the trip to keep a watchful eye on the national draft hopefuls.

"The first week is all about training and there'll be heavy conditioning work,'' Caldwell said on Friday.

"The second week is in Los Angeles where we'll still be training, but we also get some time to relax a bit.

"We get to go to a couple of NBA games, an ice hockey game and to Disneyland."

In the off-season, Caldwell has already completed a training camp with the AFL Academy in Darwin and spent a week training with Carlton.

He's also had a grueling training program to complete at home over the Christmas-New Year break.

"On the heavy load days we might have had to do cycling in the morning, a running session in the afternoon and a weights session at night,'' Caldwell said.

"It's been pretty full on, but they wanted to make sure we were in good condition for when we arrive in the United States."

Putting in the hard yards is something Caldwell thrives on.

He wants to play footy at AFL level and he'll leave no stone unturned in his quest to achieve his dream.

"I think about the work I've put in and I really want to get a result for the work I've put in,'' Caldwell said.

"I'd love to get drafted, but there's a long way to go for that to happen yet. Hopefully, my name gets called."

Jye Caldwell. Picture: NONI HYETT

Jye Caldwell. Picture: NONI HYETT

Caldwell is about to start his Year 12 studies at Geelong Grammar.

The 17-year-old said school work and cricket provided a much-needed outlet from football.

"Doing my school work and playing cricket takes my mind off footy,'' he said.

"It's important for me to do those things. School cricket is Fridays and Saturdays and there's strict rules about study.

"The school day runs from 8.40am until 3.30pm then we have training and tea. From 7pm-9pm it's compulsory to do homework."

School football commitments with Geelong Grammar will limit Caldwell to three games with the Pioneers at TAC Cup level.

He'll again rely on his form with Geelong Grammar to earn selection in the Victoria Country under-18 squad for the second-straight year.

First, it's off to the USA with 35 other AFL draft hopefuls. It won't be a holiday - all 36 players are chasing the same dream.

"You get on well with all the boys, but at the same time when it comes to one-on-one training drills you want to beat them,'' Caldwell said.

"It can go down to the wire with footy, so it gets pretty competitive."