About the Skills Academy

The vision of The Skills Academy is to provide an excellent service for its Community, which educates, inspires, develops and creates opportunities through sport.

Mike Delaney believes that he and his team can deliver football in such a way that it benefits young people in more ways than just improving their football skills.

"My dad taught me about the great players from each country and I learnt that to love football, meant to love and appreciate skill, technique, fair play and great football regardless of which team produced it." - Mike Delaney

Mike grew up practising his football skills every day at school and in local parks. He has experienced many opportunities through football and is convinced that if the right example is set through values in football, this can raise levels of self esteem and make a positive difference in the Community.

"I was impressed by his genuine commitment to providing children with footballing opportunities and his professional outlook on the way in which this is delivered." - Val Hajialexandrou, Kent County FA

The Skills Academy Values

• We are about sport and football in particular.

• We want as many people as possible to share our love of football and appreciate the good that football can do in the community.

• We aim to achieve this by continually hiring the best coaches available to deliver exciting programmes to children from all areas of the community.

• We will maintain good working relations with all schools, clubs and partners to ensure that we are working together to increase participation and enjoyment for everyone involved in sport.

• A high quality service which is affordable for people from all economic backgrounds.

• Respect for the customer and what their expectations are

• Commitment to maintain and increase participation levels through clever marketing strategies.

• High level of performance relating to an agreement of targets.

I’ve always loved football and I love seeing the pleasure it gives to the children. It can transcend all social barriers and inspire joy. Football should be something fun…. Something magical, for everyone. I care about The Skills Academy and what it means to people in this area.

We believe that our work benefits the society in which we live. If we show children that we care about them and want them to enjoy life, this must have a positive influence on them." - Mike Delaney

"Having sent my boys to be coached and trained with a number of clubs and Soccer schools over the years, The Skills Academy are by far the best set up I have come across. All of the coaches have undertaken the necessary qualifications and are incredibly professional at all times, striking an excellent balance of authority yet still managing to build a great rapport with all the children involved."
"Mike Delaney’s profile is very impressive. He has literally worked with the best in the world yet is still very hands on and committed to the children and their development. - Simone Woodward - parent, Crofton Juniors.

Further Entertainment

The Skills Academy recognises that the biggest appeal that football has in the world, is the fact that is a form of entertainment. We believe that people should be entertained whilst watching and participating, be it a parent or a child.

We aim to bring the entertainment to the individual.

Mike Delaney has a world famous name in Football Freestyling. He has performed at some of the biggest footballing events in recent years and corporations pay vast amounts of money to see such shows. The beauty of The Skills Academy is that children and parents a like, can often witness these performances as part of being a customer. Mike regularly performs shows in assemblies at schools by way of promotion and also at some holiday courses. These performances do not only make use of Mike. Other World Class performers such as Mr Woo and Tommy Baker, Dan Magness and Billy Fincham have also performed at the camps. They are individuals that adopt the same beliefs as Mike and his team and they really are outstanding freestyle professionals.

Then there is fellow coach Marc Cumberbatch. Marc works as a level 2 Football coach for The Skills Academy. He regularly works as Thierry Henry’s soccer double and has his own freestyle show which combines an entertaining mix of football tricks and dance.

The Skills Academy has considered the importance of providing a quality sports service for children and schools and now has a team of Coaches Qualified in a range of sports such as Tag Rugby, Athletics and Futsal. Coaches are already booking on to courses for basketball, co-ordination & mobility, netball and cricket.

"At the Skills Academy we have designed a number of unique coaching programmes to suit the needs of children from all ages and abilities. Although the majority of Skills Academy clubs are for boys and girls aged 5 – 12 years of age, we provide coaching from Toddlers right through to Adults." - Mike Delaney

Skills Academy Coaches

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"We are only as good as our staff…who happen to be the best."

Mike Delaney - The Skills Academy Director and Head of Coaching

Mike works with his team to create specific programmes for children to maximise enjoyment whilst developing each child to the best of their ability.

"I take a lot of consideration over who I employ as a Skills Academy coach. Only those who match all Skills Academy criteria are hired. I believe it is my responsibility to ensure that all children who visit the Skills Academy courses are being coached by the best." - Mike Delaney

The Skills Academy is focussed on providing the best coaches for the children at all clubs and events.

Each coach understands their responsibility as a role model to the children – someone they can look up to and trust.

Many of the staff are accomplished footballers and have considerable experience in playing at a good level. They are hand picked along with some of our staff being mentored from a younger age and rising through the ranks once Qualified. The Skills Academy really does have the best coaches around.

"This is the best bunch of coaches I’ve ever worked with on a level 2 Tutor course." - Alan Walker. Senior Coaching Tutor and Assessor.

Every coach at The Skills Academy is FA Qualified, CRB police checked, Emergency First Aid and Child Protection Certified. There is a list of coaches who work for The Skills Academy- all of whom must adhere to the professional code of practise.

Nikki Moodie - Skills Academy Administrator

Nikki heads up all admin issues at our main office and deals with all bookings and enquiries about clubs. She is also our child safeguarding welfare officer and has undergone training with the Kent FA.

Hayley Mawlabaux - Head of Finance

Hayley deals with all invoicing matters and liaises directly with schools and sports centres. She also schedules in work experience placements.

Greg Wickenden - Skills Academy Sports Development officer

Greg's role is to liaise with local schools and governing bodies with regard to the development of sports and in particular football and futsal in the local area. Greg is a level 3 FA Qualified coach who works with the district side as well as other talented youth teams. He was actually one of the attendees on the first ever Skills Academy holiday camp, coached by Mike back in 1998.

"Greg is an outstanding coach who is full of enthusiasm for his job and the positive influence that sport and football in particular can bring to youngsters. He is a great credit to The Skills Academy and is well-liked by both parents and children alike." - Mike Delaney

The Skills Academy holds regular in house training days as part of good practise, which include presentations detailing new football programmes and any changes being made to existing ones. Coaches are given an itinery with a list of sessions they are booked in for with times, venues and addresses.

Practical workshops are held to ensure coaches have a clear understanding of the drills, practises and games they are expected to deliver.

Each coach adheres to the Skills Academy Health and Safety Policy and works with a maximum number of 16 children at each session, recommended in FA guidelines.

"I am one of the Skills Academy’s latest recruits and have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far. I like the way the business is run and how people in the community feel about us. I enjoy the way that many of the coaches are more like friends than work colleagues, there is a definite feeling of a team atmosphere, which can be important in the job that we do. I am grateful to Mike for giving me the opportunity to work for him. I believe that the Skills Academy offers something that no other coaching school can, in their professional look and coaching style. I can honestly say that I always look forward to going to work, for the Skills Academy." - Ben Cambage – Community Coach, The Skills Academy