Passion / Pride / Progress



The DFC Academy is a full-time education and football development programme for talented 16-18 year olds, providing all the skills required to go on to University, Apprenticeships, Coaching, careers in sport, and - of course - Professional or Semi-Professional Football for the club.

Focussing on Sport, Coaching, and Fitness, the Academy players will study a variety of nationally-recognised qualifications, and be developed directly by UEFA Licensed Coach and DFC Manager, Tommy Wright. Alan White is the Head Coach. A key aspect of Tommy’s coaching philosophy is integrating youth and player development. In his four-year managerial career, he has already handed over thirty First-Team debuts to young players.

The 2018/19 season sees the Academy’s first successful applicants begin their journey with the club. With several trials of outstanding quality already taken place, look out for further opportunities to join us, join Tommy, and become part of the incredible sporting education programme we have created with SCL.

For more information on the Darlington Football Club Academy, visit our programme with SCL, here.





Introduction to the Darlington FC youth set up


The Darlington Football Club youth set up provides a pathway from Under 5 football all the way through to the club’s Academy and the first team in the Vanarama National League North.

Under the auspices of Director of Youth Paul Thomas, the club runs teams at the following levels in either the Russell Foster Youth League or the Teesside Junior Football Alliance:

Under 6

Under 7

Under 8

Under 9

Under 10

Under 11

Under 12

Under 13

Under 14

Under 15

Under 16

Under 17

Under 18

There is also a team of Under 13 girls who play in the Russell Foster Youth League.

The headquarters for the youth is at Eastbourne Sports Complex, Bourne Avenue, Darlington. Depending on the age group, training takes place Monday to Friday, with games taking place on Saturdays and Sundays, either on the 4G or on one of the grass pitches.

Most of the club’s coaches are qualified to UEFA B standard. All of them are DRB checked, and are qualified in the safeguarding of children and emergency first aid.

As well as professional coaching, the club also provides strength and conditioning training, futsal, dietary and nutritional advice, tuition on the laws of the game as well as life skills. The club has a philosophy of enjoyment through learning.

For further details, contact:

Paul Thomas, director of youth, on



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