Bolton Wanderers has entered into a strategic partnership with the Lisburn Castlereagh Junior League with the aim to broaden the club’s reach internationally by providing professional coaching experience to young players.
Established in 1990 by Tommy Whiteside, the Lisburn Football League initially comprised six clubs and has since progressed to organise fixtures for more than 130 teams across several age groups.
Since its establishment, the League has seen players such as David Healy, Paddy McNair, Aaron Hughes and former Wanderers' manager Neil Lennon go on to win full international honours for Northern Ireland.
Following discussions that have taken place over several months, the arrangement will see Wanderers stage grassroots training camps and host coaching education programmes for the League’s clubs and coaches, and host teams at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Bolton Wanderers Chief Executive Officer, Neil Hart, said: “This is an exciting partnership that will hopefully flourish over the coming months and help to build a long and successful network in Northern Ireland.
“Lisburn Castlereagh Junior League has a proud history of delivering excellence and I am confident that we can support it further. We have been in discussions since last summer and I’m delighted we now have formal partnership in place.
“There are a number of initiatives that we plan to roll out which will not only widen our global footprint but will create an opportunity for the League’s players to experience similar programmes to those delivered here at the University of Bolton Stadium.”
Chair of Lisburn Castlereagh Junior League, Chris Budd said: “Everyone involved in the Lisburn Castlereagh Junior League (LCJL) is extremely delighted to agree this partnership with such a prestigious English football club that is very much on the up.
"This has been a relationship building process that started last summer with Bolton Wanderers and has come to fruition with this formal announcement.
“This initiative will give the opportunity for young local players to have a direct pathway to Bolton Wanderers through the local Bolton Development Centre and we look forward to visiting Bolton very soon.
“It will give all the clubs and youth players within the league the chance to avail of this partnership.
“This relationship will also give all the coaches connected with our clubs the chance to develop their skills which they will take back to their clubs, teams and, most importantly, their players.
"We hope that the clubs and players in our league can see the real benefits from this partnership and have a player in the future feature for Bolton Wanderers FC.”
Clubs and organisations that are interested in linking up with Bolton Wanderers can find more information about our International programmes here.