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School to host a new football academy

Posted onPosted on 17th Apr

A new initiative has been launched for 16 to 18-year-olds looking to pursue a career and further education in sport.

They will work with former professional footballers through a joint partnership between Nottinghamshire-based You Can Do Sport and the Queen Elizabeth’s Academy, Mansfield.

From September, students from across the region with an interest in football will be able to start a two-year BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport (equivalent to three A-Levels), combining theoretical training and practical sports coaching from leading professionals, with academic studies in nutrition, physiology, psychology and anatomy.

Unique to the area, the programme is only the second one to launch in Nottinghamshire, following the success of a similar initiative run by You Can Do Sport in Newark.

Open to males and females aged 16 to 18, and of all abilities, the programme will be run and based at Queen Elizabeth’s (part of the Diverse Academies group of schools).

Students will split their time equally between academic study and practical training under the guidance of three former professional footballers ­— Ian McParland (current scout for Aston Villa FC), Gary Charles (twice-capped for England) and Andy Reid (current head coach for Ireland U18s).

All You Can Do Sport coaches have succeeded to the highest level, having played, coached and managed professionally for some of the country’s top football teams, including Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa.

Students will also benefit from the support of Paul Hart (current assistant coach for Stoke City FC), who will act as a consultant coach.

Natalia Postlethwaite, director of You Can Do Sport, said: “Our mission is to make further education in sport accessible to all children, regardless of background or starting point, to enrich their lives, contribute to their success and allow them to realise their potential. We aim to motivate and encourage others to achieve their personal and professional fulfilment, and to enable them to make educated and informed decisions that are not limited by self-belief, opportunity or circumstance.”

Gary Charles added: “Charlie, Andy and I are very pleased to be involved. With access to coaches who are usually only available to elite athletes, this is too good to miss.

“You never lose the love of football and I think that’s why we do it, the three of us, because it’s like giving back to young children. Seeing them improve from session to session is great to see.

“It’s not necessarily for potential pro-players, so no matter what their current level of expertise, if you have a passion for football, students should apply.”

Training sessions will focus on fitness testing, sports leadership, coaching, technique, tactical awareness, strength, conditioning, individual profiling and players’ overall awareness and understanding of the game.

Students will also be entered into the AoC league, giving them the opportunity to play competitive matches with regional grass roots clubs, colleges, academies and sixth form teams. The course offers a broad insight into the diversity of disciplines and careers, and graduates will be well placed to access a range of pathways, such as scholarships, university, employment and apprenticeships, and potentially professional and semi-professional sports contracts for those that show real promise in their game.

Helena Brothwell, principal at Queen Elizabeth’s, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with You Can Do Sport. For students who are keen on sport as a career this programme offers a great alternative to a traditional sixth-form or college setting.

“With a team of professionals behind them who are experts and are renowned in their field, students will have the best possible guidance and mentorship there is. We are very lucky that this is going to be available to students in Mansfield and I’m looking forward to seeing it grow.”

There are no joining or course fees, and You Can Do Sport provide all students with a free match and training kit, which they will have the opportunity to help design.

You Can Do Sport is hosting a trial for anyone that is interested in applying on Monday, 29th April, from 5pm to 6.30pm at Queen Elizabeth’s Academy. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Natalia on 07980 761 311 or email [email protected]

More information is at