Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
give their royal seal of approval
So the waiting game is over after many years in the making. English soccer's £105 million Football Association's St George's Park National Football Centre was officially given the royal seal of approval by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the 9th of October.
Prince William who is the FA President wasn’t even born when the seeds of this centre were first mooted. Now with a world class training facility available to the England team the race is on to win a major trophy for the first time since 1966.
The FA stated at the official opening that it hopes the state-of-the-art facilities will result in silverware within 15 years as well as leading to 250,000 new top-level coaches being brought into the game.
As reported in newspapers and on TV, England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard told reporters;
"We've got the best stadium in the world and now the training facilities too so we have taken away all of the excuses for the future. Football these days is all about preparation and recovery at the top level."
The huge new centre is located in the Staffordshire National Forest, in 330 acres of land-scaped parkland. It will be the training base for all 24 England teams.
So here are some of the key details at St George's Park. It has 11 outdoor pitches, including an exact replica of the Wembley Stadium surface; a full-sized indoor pitch and an enormous indoor sports hall.
It also boasts a bespoke sports medicine, rehabilitation and performance centre, which has been deemed the most advanced facility of its kind anywhere in the UK.
St George's Park will be the home of FA Learning, the FA's educational department, and will provide national coach education courses.
But it doesn’t stop just there. The national centre has two onsite hotels which have been built to cater for the national sides, groups or team bookings and also to accommodate major sporting or business conferences and banquets. It is envisaged that the hotels will also provide accommodation for residential courses.
One important point that has to be emphasised here is that you can have the greatest training facilities in the world, but if you don’t have home-grown natural born talent coming through the junior ranks of football, no amount of world class coaches and facilities will deliver that coveted silverware.
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