Edusport Academy is a residential football academy based in Scotland. The academy was founded in 2011, initially in order to assist young French players, and was initially based at the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, before relocating to Lesser Hampden in Glasgow in 2015. A second centre based in Edinburgh opened in 2014. An Edusport Academy team has also competed in Scottish senior football from the 2014–15 season onwards, the only private academy to do so in a recognised senior league. They initially played in the South of Scotland League before winning promotion to the Lowland League in 2017. Senior matches were played at the Hamilton Palace Sports Ground in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, before moving to Galabank in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway, from 2015.
|Full name||Edusport Academy|
|Capacity||2,504 (500 seated)|
|Managing Director||Chris Ewing|
|Head coach||Ricky Waddell|
|2018–19||Lowland League, 9th of 16|
The Edusport Academy was founded in 2011 by Chris Ewing with the aim of helping talented young French footballers to develop their skills in football and the English language, and gain opportunities with British professional clubs. Initially, the main training venues were the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, and the Hamilton Palace Sports Ground in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, with English classes taking place at New College Lanarkshire. Edusport expanded in 2014, opening an Edinburgh centre with training at Ainslie Park and education at Edinburgh College. In 2015, they decided to relocate from Motherwell to a new Glasgow base; the Academy now trains at Lesser Hampden with educational classes at City of Glasgow College.
Four women were added to the Edusport Academy programme in 2015. They are based at the Edinburgh centre and will gain senior experience through a partnership with Spartans of the Scottish Women's Premier League.
In June 2014, Edusport Academy successfully applied for membership of the semi-professional South of Scotland League in the sixth tier of the Scottish football league system, becoming the first private football academy in the world to operate a team in a FIFA-recognised senior league. They made further Scottish football history in a league match against Creetown in September 2014, when they first fielded a team composed entirely of French nationals. The senior team won two trophies in their first season, the South of Scotland League Cup and the Cree Lodge Cup. They applied to move up a level to the Lowland League in 2015, but their application was rejected.
Edusport Academy won the 2016–17 South of Scotland League title to gain promotion to the Lowland League in the fifth tier of Scottish football. In February 2018, Ewing announced plans to separate the senior team from the academy and attract a fanbase by launching a new online membership scheme, Our Football Club. Members will have voting and decision-making powers, including a say on choosing a new name, crest and colours for the team. They will be able to recommend potential signings, but will have no say on team selection. Ewing stated at the launch of the project that his aim was to reach the Scottish Premiership by 2025.
For the first season, South of Scotland League home matches were played at the Hamilton Palace Sports Ground. From 2015 onwards, the team have groundshared with Annan Athletic at their Galabank stadium in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway. Plans are now in motion for the development of Bothwellhaugh at Strathclyde Park which hopes to see the team move there permanently by the end of the 2018-2019 season
As of 28 March 2019
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
As of 7 August 2018
|Owner / managing director||Chris Ewing|
|General manager||Laurent Ciechelski|
|Head coach – Lowland League||Ricky Waddell|
|Goalkeeping coach||Bryn Halliwell|
|Sports therapist||Ross Anderson|
|Sports scientist||Shannon McClellan|
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- Thomson, Paul (3 June 2015). "Lowland League welcome Cumbernauld Colts for next season". Daily Record. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
- "Edusport Academy eyes Premiership place by 2025 under web-based fan membership". BBC Sport. 7 February 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
- Rutherford, Nichola; Rinaldi, Giancarlo (29 July 2015). "South of Scotland Live". BBC News. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "The Team - Our Football Club". Our Football Club. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
- "Meet the team". Edusport Academy. Retrieved 7 August 2018.