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Quakers start looking to the future
While Darlington this week made three new signings in preparation for next season, they have also a long-term vision and have announced plans to hold trials for its newly-formed youth club.
They are holding trials for children of all ages in Darlington on four separate evenings next month.
Darlington Youth Football Club, Quakers believe, is a fundamental part in the club's aspiration to become community-based and will enable them to be represented at all age groups from under-7s to under-18s in a variety of local leagues.
Quakers boss Martin Gray says he is looking forward to seeing the growth in the club's youth development programme.
He said: "It is good to know that Darlington Youth Football Club will be run on the same professional basis as the current Under 18s and first team are.
"I set my standards high and I will be looking for talented players to join the Darlington youth teams.
"I have met with all of the youth team coaches and managers at DYFC and explained how I would like them to develop their teams to hopefully provide me with players good enough to play for Darlington Football Club for years to come."
Dave Mills, director of Darlington Football Club CIC, says the development will increase the participation in youth football at grassroots level.
He said: "Darlington Football Club is committed to engaging with the wider community and the fantastic opportunity these trials provide will mean that young aspiring footballers will be able to play within the club's youth development programme and proudly wear the Quakers badge on their shirts."
The trials will be held at Eastbourne Sports Complex in Darlington every Wednesday evening, 6-8pm on June 5, 12, 19 and 26.
Parents of children wishing to take part in the trials must register with DYFC before the trials begin by contacting Nicholson via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Children must attend with the correct equipment, including boots.
Meanwhile, Darlington's programme finished 13th nationally in the Soccer Club programme awards, beating all but one Conference club.
Stockport, who were relegated from the Conference, were sixth while Marske United, whose programme is edited by Moss Holtby, came second.
Quakers' programme editor, Ray Simpson, said: "It's an amazing performance considering that all we had last July was a blank piece of paper and that there are around 200 clubs above us in the national system.
"It is a deserved award for what has been a great team effort throughout the season, and even more proof in a memorable season of what can be achieved when everyone pulls in the same direction."
Darlington will produce a special promotion edition of the programme next month.
Also in the top 40 were Gateshead, Penrith and Shidon, who were 22nd, 24th and 31st respectively.
* Darlington will hold a fans' forum on Wednesday, June 12 at Blackwell Meadows Rugby Club.
Starting at 7.30pm, all are welcome to attend while details about who will be attending are yet to be announced.