Needham Market FC trio jetting out for Finland adventure

A TRIO of top talent from Needham Market Apprenticeship Academy are jetting out to Finland to sample life with Third Division side, Sundom.

Nathan Farr, 17, Joe Leaver, 18 and Joe Sharpe, 16 will spend a week in the small village on the west coast of Finland, from June 4, as part of the Marketmen’s link with the Scandinavian outfit.

Back in March, Sundom’s Albin Nordman, Tony Granlund and Axel Kurki spent a similar period of time with the Ryman League Division One North club, training with the apprentices at Bloomfields and also playing in a floodlit match.

Needham’s academy scheme is aimed at high standard footballers aged between 16-18, who get the chance to represent the club’s reserve team in the Ridgeons Reserve League North Division as well as gaining nationally recognised qualifications, such as coaching badges.

Joe Leaver, a centre-back who is in his last year as an apprentice at Needham Market, said: “This is a great chance for us to sample the football in Finland but also to learn about a different country, the culture and the language.”

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“Joe Sharpe added: “I experienced a similar opportunity in Holland last year and I am looking forward to the chance to go to Finland, even though it was minus 9 out there last week!

“But it will be nice to see what the standard of football is like.”

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The three boys, who will be flying to Tampere Airport, before being driven three hours to Sundom, all have ambitions to stay in the football industry in some shape or form and while accepting that they may not make it in the professional game, they are keen to share their knowledge in a coaching capacity.

“It has been a really good experience and we have been learning off people such as former Ipswich player Kevin Horlock, who is the academy manager, so he certainly knows what he is talking about,” said Nathan, who with the two Joes has helped Needham’s reserve team to second in the league this campaign.

The boys will be staying with Albin, Tony and Axel and their respective families.

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