Inverness Athletic have reached an agreement with Balloan FC for the continuation of youth development between the two clubs.
The partnership gives players the opportunity to play from the age of nine all the way through to adulthood, where they would be able to play in the North Caledonian League.
Balloan currently only keep players until under-17 level. If players wish to play further football, they have to find a new team to play for.
Meanwhile, Inverness Athletic don’t have a youth team under the same brand - so can’t produce many youth prospects.
However, the new partnership will allow players security for those who want to play football beyond youth level - and it should offer fresh waves of talent for Athletic on a regular basis.
I spoke to James Fraser, of Balloan FC, who said about the scheme was looking very promising and is excited to see what can happen.
He also told me it made him happy to know that players had a place to play beyond Balloan, adding that the partnership has allowed Balloan to enter an under-15 side to the Highland League, as the league plays at a different time to the standard Street League.
His delight at the deal is shared by the coaches, players and staff ay Balloan, who are also excited about the pathway partnership and the chance to play more games now each year.
Finally, James confirmed it saves both clubs financial burdens, as they don’t have to buy as many players but are rather growing their own.