IT’S full steam ahead for The Burnham Ramblers Football Academy.

The first set of trials have already been held to select players for the new project which is set to begin ahead of the 2014-15 season.

There are also plans to take trialists on a trip to Malta next month on April 14-18 where they will face the national under-17 side.

The squad will consist of 16-18-year-olds, all of who will potentially join the academy when it launches ahead of the new season.

They will also compete against a leading Maltese professional team’s youth set-up.

Academy manager Dave Thompson said: "This will be a chance for our young players to experience playing in a great facility and against players that are representing their country. It’s a tour which can’t be taken lightly.

“We are looking forward to this tour – it shows how committed we are as a club to push forward local talent and it will be a great learning curve for these players in their development as players.”

The Academy, which will be based at Warners Bridge Park in Southend, will offer students a two-year, full-time education and football development programme.

They will study a VRQ qualification in Sports Science and Coaching as well as the opportunity to compete at a County and National Level matches, playing competitively every Wednesday afternoon.

The Academy has also been entered into the FA Youth Cup.