UCLan and Pro Football Academy launch new Cheshire academy to nurture football stars of tomorrow
New scheme to give students chance to gain BTEC qualification and learn with UEFA qualified coaches
University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has joined forces with the nationally renowned and award-winning Pro Football Academy to create a new football education centre for budding footballers over the age of 16.
The new site, based in Stockport, will be the very first Pro Football Academy in the country to give young players aged 16 to 18 the chance to train for a BTEC Level 3 Diploma. As part of the course they will have the chance to train and learn with UEFA qualified coaches at the academy’s world class facilities in Stockport Sports Village.
The BTEC qualification at the new academy will then also give them a guaranteed interview with UCLan to potentially go on and complete a sports degree in areas such as coaching and management.
The new academy will give students a unique opportunity to combine their BTEC studies with a professional, full-time football training programme. As part of the initiative, Pro Football Academy has also bought local semi-professional club, Stockport Town FC, which will offer the opportunity for students to be selected to play in the FA Youth Cup as well as in weekly competitive fixtures.
"Students will not only be able to substantially improve their footballing skills but they will also have the opportunity to develop academically and enhance their future employability"
The BTEC programme at the new academy is being led by director of football Lee Waddington MSc, a UEFA A Licensed coach with over 20 years experience working in the professional game for clubs such as Blackburn Rovers, Manchester United and Burnley.
He is supported by head coach Marc Maddocks, who is also a UEFA. A Licensed coach and worked in the Manchester City academy for over 20 years.
Dr Adrian Ibbetson, Director of Sport and Engagement at UCLan, said: “This is a very exciting initiative which will really help to enhance the future options for young people who are set on pursuing a career in football.
"Players will now have a great chance to widen their options and still fulfil that dream of achieving a career in the sport they love"
“Thanks to the first class learning experience that the Academy will provide, students will not only be able to substantially improve their footballing skills but they will also have the opportunity to develop academically and enhance their future employability, as with the support that UCLan will be providing, they will have the chance to study for a degree.”
Recently Pro Football Academy won the New Business of the Year Award at the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards and Small Business of the Year Award at the North East Cheshire Business Awards.
Lee Waddington, Director at the new Pro Football Academy site in Stockport said: “We are looking for committed players; those who wish to expand their game on the pitch with top class coaches and develop their education off the pitch within a World Class learning environment.
“Through our partnership with UCLan, students successfully completing the BTEC Level 3 Diploma will be guaranteed an interview for entry to the appropriate UCLan course. As Pro Football Academy is rapidly expanding across the UK to 150 centres there will be opportunities for students wishing, for example to gain employment as a coach to access a guaranteed interview upon successful completion of course.
“During the programme players will have the opportunity to showcase their talent to a host of professional clubs in specially arranged games.”
Adrian Ibbetson added: “In the modern game the odds can often be stacked against a young player making it as a full-time professional player with a club, but thanks to the opportunity now being provided by ourselves and Pro-Football Academy those players will now have a great chance to widen their options and still fulfil that dream of achieving a career in the sport they love.”