ROSS COUNTY FOOTBALL CLUB'S ACADEMY was established in 2017 as part of the Scottish Football Association’s Project Brave. Headed up by Academy Director, Steven Ferguson, the Academy sits in the second-tier Progressive performance category and aims to create a clear pathway for players between the ages of eight and 18 to become first-team prospects.
Ross County FC Academy staff
Steven Ferguson – Academy Director
Steven Ferguson has been appointed the club’s first ever Academy Director in 2017 and was charged with navigating the club through the stringent Scottish FA’s Project Brave process while creating a positive, sustainable academy at Ross County Football Club.
Steven has a long association with Ross County Football Club having played 220 first team games scoring 54 goals during the club's rise through the Scottish Football Leagues from 1996–2003, returning to the club in 2010 where he has held a number of roles including first team coach, assistant manager, head of youth development & interim manager on two separate occasions.
Steven is one of the most decorated coaches in Scotland holding the Scottish FA’s Advanced Children’s & Youth Licences along with the UEFA A & B licences before completing the sought after UEFA Pro licence in 2016.
Stuart Kettlewell - Development Manager
Following five successful years as a Ross County player and amassing over 150 appearances in which his achievements include promotion to the Premier League, Challenge Cup winner, Scottish Cup finalist and 5th place Premier League finish. Injury resulted in Stuart’s playing career ending at the age of 30, however this during a transitional period at the football club led to Stuart taking charge of the Development squad.
The past three and a half years has seen Stuart implement a great deal of change to the Development Squad. These include, full ownership of player recruitment, reintroduction of an Education programme linked with Dingwall Academy, level 1,2 and 3 coach education opportunity for players as well as well as our first participation in the Erasmus+ scheme. This period of time has also seen players such as Davis Keillor-Dunn, Reghan Tumilty and Greg Morrison amongst others appear for the 1st Team.
Last season saw history made by the Development Squad winning the under 20 Development League, this in turn resulted in seven of the squad signing 1st Team contracts.
Stuart’s main role at Ross County is Development Manager however he also links this with a position as 1st team coach as well as assisting Richard Brittain with the under 17s squad.
Richard Brittain - Head of Professional Programme
After a successful Ross County playing career spanning seven successful years with 270 appearances and 50 goals - where he captained the club to the First Division League title in 2012, also going an unprecedented 40 league games unbeaten - Richard recently returned to the club in a full time coaching capacity in the role of Head of Professional Academy.
Richard, who holds the UEFA B Licence but is about to complete the UEFA A Licence in May 2018, will be responsible until the summer for the club's under 17 squad where at the commencement of the new 2018/19 season they will become the new under 18 squad, thus meeting the criteria for Project Brave.
This newly formed under 18 squad will be made up of a number of full-time players and players who choose to continue their education and remain in school. This will be a challenging role but it is a role that Richard is thoroughly looking forward to undertaking. Along with his main role, Richard will also be working with the Development Team assisting current Development Team Manager, another Ross County legend, Stuart Kettlewell in his pursuit of developing players that are good enough to play in the First Team at Ross County.
Richard is absolutely delighted to be back working in a full time capacity at the club and continuing his long association with this great football club.
David Kirkwood - Head of Youth Academy Programme
David's career started back in 1983 with his debut at 16-years-of-age, playing for East Fife v Albion Rovers, and scoring the winning goal. His career took him to Rangers, Heart of Midlothian, Airdrieonians and Raith Rovers in which he played in the European Cup, Uefa Cup and European Cup Winners Cup. Along the way he won divisional championships, and represented Scotland at all age levels up to U21 level.
His career finished with 407 appearances and 65 goals.
David's coaching career started early as he retired from football at the age of 31 due to a serious knee injury. Spells coaching at Raith Rovers, Motherwell FC and Rangers FC led to David being installed as Head Of Youth Development at Ross County in 2006 until 2012. In his time at Brora Rangers FC, David managed the club to two Highland League titles (1 defeat in 68 games) and two North of Scotland Cup wins before being enticed back to Ross County Youth Academy by Academy Director, Steven Ferguson. His current qualifications are:
Six years on, he is as passionate as ever to make sure that Ross County maintains the hard work that produces talented, athletic young players that make the club proud of in years to come.
Charlie McPhee - Head of Children's Academy
Charlie McPhee is Head of Ross County’s Children’s Academy. Charlie’s focus will be on developing players between the ages of 8 and 12 as they start out on their footballing journey at the club.
Charlie is a local lad who has good links with Ross County as he worked as a Community Coach for 8 years before taking up his new position. Throughout his time working in the Community Department, Charlie was also involved in coaching within the club's Youth Development Programme.
Prior to going full time in the Community Department in 2010, Charlie did some additional support work at Dingwall Academy, during his time there he was heavily involved in coaching their school teams.
At present Charlie holds a UEFA B Licence and is working towards his Scottish FA’s Advanced Children’s Licence which finishes in March 2018.
Jim Kelly - Head of Academy Operations
Jim's role sees him oversee the Welfare and Education of the young players as well as leading player recruitment for the academy. Jim has a 19 year association with the club where he has been Assistant Manager when the team progressed from the third to second division, Chief Scout as well as Head of Youth Development. Jim has also managed Brora Rangers in the Highland League on three separate occasions.
As a player Jim spent 8 years with Partick Thistle and is a current UEFA Elite Youth Licence holder.
Gregor Campbell - Head of Academy Football Science & Medicine
Gregor is responsible for developing the club’s youth players into the modern day professional football athlete.
He grew up in Invergordon coaching locally before moving to Edinburgh to study Sport and Exercise Science in 2006. He specialised in Football Science, Strength & Conditioning and Performance Analysis at Edinburgh Napier University. He then went on to complete his Masters degree in 2012.
As well as studying, Gregor has coached at various clubs across Scotland and the USA. He spent time as Napier University’s first team Manager as well as considerable time in Coaching and Sport Science roles at Cowdenbeath FC, Livingston FC, Dunfermline Athletic FC and a Director of Coaching in New Jersey.
He has also completed his UEFA B Licence as well as numerous youth and children awards.
Gregor is absolutely thrilled to join the club and is excited to get started working with such a talented group of players.
Calum MacAskill - Head Academy Physiotherapist
Calum is the club’s Head Academy Physiotherapist with a remit covering the full-time Development Squad, all academy age groups, and assisting with the first team.
Whilst studying for his BSc in Physiotherapy at Glasgow Caledonian University, Calum began gaining experience in football with full time placements at Ross County (working with Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson), Dundee United and St Mirren (working with Kevin Bain) - having also worked with Hamilton Academical and St Mirren youth academies.
Following on from his placement at Ross County, Calum travelled to Portugal in 2016 with Ross County’s Development squad to assist with the two week training camp.
After graduating university in 2016, Calum immediately joined St Mirren as Head Academy Physiotherapist. After a year there, Calum was excited to join Ross County to develop the Academy medical department in line with the new SFA Project Brave initiative, and to re-join a team with Stuart Kettlewell, Steven Ferguson and Kevin Bain.