Blackpool and The Fylde College ‘Teams Up’ with AFC Fylde

Published: Tuesday 21 July 2015

Blackpool and The Fylde College (B&FC) and AFC Fylde have clubbed together to form Lancashire’s’ newest sporting academy for football hopefuls.

The academy combines a full-time sports, fitness and exercise Study Programme at an Ofsted Outstanding College, with the opportunity to develop and play football with a real conference team.

The training programme is designed to develop players’ abilities both on and off the pitch by teaching them a range of sport and fitness skills, as well as improving footballing techniques with the help of professional and experienced coaches.

Dave Challinor, First Team Manager at AFC Fylde welcomed the partnership. He said:

“It's great news to be able to formalise the agreement with Blackpool and The Fylde College. The partnership will give young people a fantastic opportunity to not only further their education but develop as footballers and most of all individuals.

“They will have access to first class coaching and tutoring from the staff at the College and have access to state of the art facilities. As a club, we hope that these players will progress through our development sides and be future stars in our First Team.”

Joanne Kershaw, Head of School for Hospitality, Tourism and Sport at Blackpool and The Fylde College added:

“We are delighted to be working with such an aspirational local football club with clear growth ambitions. Through employer engagement and excellent learning and teaching, we offer our students excellent opportunities for development. This partnership is another example of how we can positively influence the future careers of even more young people.

“I expect to see many of the AFC Fylde Academy learners benefit from progression onto our higher education degrees alongside their sports careers.”

All prospective players/students go through a recruitment and selection process where they take part in a number of trials carried out by AFC Fylde Coaches to determine their football abilities and levels. They also attend an interview with the Sports Team at Blackpool and The Fylde College to ensure the correct study programme pathway is selected based on prior learning, experience and entry qualifications/ grades.

Players who take up places on the academy programme will represent AFC Fylde in the Conference Youth Alliance (North Division) and will play against teams such as Crewe Alexandra, Macclesfield Town, FC Halifax Town, Gateshead, FC United of Manchester, Altrincham and Guiseley.

Training begins in September 2015, with between 20-30 students expected in the first cohort. Samie Slim, 16, is one of those selected for the academy. He said:

“I heard about the academy earlier in the year through AFC Fylde and attended a trial at the College during half term. I’m looking forward to starting College in September. It’s an exciting prospect to be able to study and do a bit of physical training as well; it’s the best of both worlds. I hope to be a professional football player one day."

For more information about the Academy, or to be considered for a place, visit the Academy page.

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