Talented young soccer players in Bendigo are being given the opportunity to fast track their development.
Academy FC, in partnership with Bendigo City FC, is launching an under-11 academy to prepare junior players for the elite National Premier League program.
High-profile local coaches Nathan Claridge and Greg Thomas will oversee the program for 10 and 11-year-old boys.
"The idea is about providing an environment for 10 and 11-year-olds to prepare them for the transition to NPL level,'' Claridge said.
"Previously, young players have gone straight to under-12 level with Bendigo City and we've found that those kids are a fair bit behind some of the Melbourne clubs.
"Hopefully, this program can close the gap and it will give players a foot in the door to the under-12 NPL pathway."
Players who make the under-11 squad of 22 will still play and train with their Bendigo Amateur Soccer League clubs in 2019.
"Academy training will be once a week and we'll play in three tournaments across the year as well as about eight games against NPL clubs,'' Claridge said.
Trials for the under-11 academy will be held on November 10 and 17 at Epsom-Huntly Recreation Reserve.
Interested players can register for the trials via trybooking.com