Pro level academy offers specialised football coaching, enabling anybody to access academy standard coaching no matter who you are. We are firm believers that development is accelerated in a fun, safe and respectful environment.

We offer a wide range of session types, enabling us to cater for all needs. Here at PLA, we feel we are the answer to bridging the ever-growing gap between grass roots and academy football. Due to the experience and knowledge of our coaches, we are parallel to anything else in the area.

Meet our Coaches


Tom Conlon

Co founder & Head Coach

Tom Conlon was born in 1996, he currently plays for Port Vale. He joined Stoke City at the age of 8 and continued through their ranks before being released at 16. He then went on to join Peterborough after a short period with local team Newcastle town. Tom then joined Stevenage before going on to sign with Port Vale. He has spent more than 18 years within a professional football club.


Nathan Smith

co founder & Head Coach

Nathan Smith was born in 1996, he is a defender at Port Vale, where he has spent the last 13 years. Nathan did not come into academy football until he was 13. Having come through the ranks at Port Vale he had to go out on loan for his first two professional years, to Stafford Rangers and Torquay United, respectively. He has then gone on to make more than 350 appearances for local team Port Vale, where he is now club captain.


Nick Ridgway

owner & Head Coach

Nick Ridgway was born in 1991, he has over 14 years coaching experience. He bolsters an unbelievable list of qualifications and at the top of that is his UEFA A license coaching qualification, this is what all premier league managers now require. Nick has coached in the UK and USA with an age range of 5-18. He coached at Port Vale academy but took a step away to help develop young players through PLA. He has the knowledge of current academy football and what it takes to make it at that level.


Lewis Beeston

GK Coach

Lewis Beeston was born in 2001. He has worked in multiple levels of football, in both competitive and community based environments. He is level 2 qualified and also has his goalkeeping award. Lewis is hugely enthusiastic about the development of all goalkeepers on and off the pitch.


Tom Farr


Tom Farr was born 1997, he has had a passion for coaching from such a young age. He has worked his way up through professional football club Port Vale starting with their development centre then moving quickly to their academy. He then made the step up to head coach of the U18 shadow squad. Tom made the decision to come over to PLA to help develop all the local players while continue to work with his U18s squad.


Kai Wilson


Kai Wilson was born 1999, he is our newest addition to the team. He epitomises what PLA is all about, his passion and enthusiasm towards the development of players is second to none. Coach Kai has been involved in football from a young age and has developed a knowledge of the game through first hand experience. He is now fine tuning his coaching ability working along side our head coaches.