Published: 19th August 2020

As Scotland continues to make its way back towards normality, children across the country returned to the classrooms last week. For Dundee United, this means that our exciting partnership with Baldragon Academy has begun and twelve pupils have taken the next steps in their footballing journeys by attending our very own Performance School right here in the city.

These young men will now experience over 1,280 additional hours of individually tailored performance education over a four-year programme while continuing their studies.

It's been almost a year since Our Academy was awarded Club Academy Scotland 'Elite' status and Our Academy at Baldragon will be the next phase of our Performance Strategy aimed at developing future generations of homegrown talent who will succeed at both Club, European and international level.

Baldragon Academy Headteacher Hugh McAninch said: "What was really striking was Andy Goldie's passion about learning first. We want to be able to develop our young people, their skills and talents, and to see how we can develop these boys through football was phenomenal.

"As headteacher here at Baldragon, I'm delighted that we as a school can offer everything that Our Academy is looking for and package that up with an education-first approach."

The full-time coaching of the pupils at Baldragon will be lead by our new Individual Performance Coach Andy Steeves. A footballer in his own right as a defender at Montrose, Andy has been coaching part-time with Our Academy for the last 16 months but will now work from Baldragon as he helps to develop the next generation of United stars.

Andy said: "I'm very fortunate to have this opportunity and I'm extremely excited to work with the young people in Our Academy. This is going to be a fantastic opportunity for the boys not only to grow as footballers but to grow as people as well."

A full interview with Andy is available free-to-view on DUTV now.

Academy Director Andy Goldie added: "I'm delighted to welcome Andy as Individual Performance Coach having already made a great impression since joining the Club as an Academy Coach last April. Having achieved Elite status last year, we have continued to evaluate our Performance Strategy and we felt it was imperative to invest even further in the individual development of our high potential players both on and off the pitch.

"Andy will be predominantly based in Our Academy at Baldragon where he will work closely with our twelve pupils on a daily basis however he will also lead on the Individual Performance Plans across all age groups in order to maximise the potential of every young player at the club.

"We have enjoyed a lot of success recently with a number of graduates making their mark on the First Team and Andy’s addition to our full-time staffing structure signifies another state of intent by the Club to continuously evolve to improve the support, guidance and opportunity our young players have within Our Academy.”

Congratulations must also go to Our Academy players Keir Gilligan, Marcus Buchanan, Andrew Mochrie and Paddy Kilcoyne who have started their journey at St John’s RC High School in Dundee this week, meaning we now have seventeen players enrolled in the Scottish FA Performance School programmes at Graeme High School (Falkirk) and St John’s. Good luck to all.