Otley College launches brand-new football academy

SEVERAL young hopefuls gathered for trials recently as Otley College launched its brand-new football academy.

The academy is merging with Easton College in Norwich and staff at the Suffolk campus hope their facility can be as successful as its Norfolk partner.

Easton’s campus has already had a fair deal of success, spawning the careers of Grimsby Town defender Shaun Pearson as wellas Matthew Powley, who has played in goal for the England Colleges’ team.

The academy gives students the opportunity to see what it takes to become a professional footballer, in terms of diet, training and discipline, while offering a range of one and two-year BTEC courses, equivalent to GCSE and A-level standard respectively.

Initially, players from Otley will be transported to Easton for training whilst facilities for football are provided on their own campus and, should they make the grade, they will represent the Suffolk College in the British Colleges Sport (BCS) League, Elite Division, potentially playing against Easton.

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Easton currently have enough players to field around five teams with the non-elite outfits playing in participation leagues, while 18 students have signed up for the programme at Otley – ten level one students and eight level two and places are available until early next month.

Director of sport at Easton College, George Caplan said: “The players will receive ten hours of training a week, ranging from strength and conditioning work to athlete development.

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“Our ethos is the development of our students as football players as well as from an academic point of view.”

The former Enfield player, who has worked in further education for 20 years, added: “We would like to develop a similar provision to the one we have successfully provided in Norfolk.

“We are proud of our track record in terms of students having gone on to carve out successful careers but we are keen to stress that there are so many career opportunities in football, not necessarily connected with playing.”

n If you want to find out more about how to get involved with the academy at Otley, call 01473 784131.

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