Blackpool and The Fylde College and Fleetwood Town FC have joined forces to boost opportunities in football.
The League One club will introduce a new shadow youth team programme at the College from September, and the new partnership will mean B&FC students on the team will be the first to be considered to progress into the Fleetwood Town Youth Team set-up.
Students studying for any number of different careers at the College can already add a football element to their course programme – be their main study area in anything from sport or travel tourism to construction or engineering. This means the College can prepare people for their career, while also providing opportunities in the game should they have the required skills.
Mark Fell, Director of Further Education at B&FC, said: “Our provision is unique in that students can add a football element to many of the other Ofsted Outstanding courses which we offer at B&FC.
“This means they can tailor their studying with a tutor-led, one-to-one experience, which isn’t offered by other local providers, creating pathways to access careers in football and coaching, or in industries related to their other areas of study.
“For girls, this is the only bespoke 11-a-side provision on the Fylde Coast and we hope to drive forward the development of the women’s game through the offer of local, high-quality provision in support of the work already going on in local clubs.”
The partnership will also mean any players – male or female – who may not currently be ready for the club’s junior squad can sign up for a College course and play for a B&FC team under the guidance of professional head coach Andy Preece, to develop their skills.
Open trials for Fleetwood’s youth team will be held at the club’s multi-million pound PoolFoot Farm complex on Tuesday 11 April and Thursday 13 April. Meanwhile, interested players can also sign up for the shadow team by contacting the College directly.
Gretar Steinson, Technical Director at Fleetwood Town, added: “The shadow youth team will offer players a performance pathway through the club, whilst also supporting their future career development and gaining full interaction with FTFC Youth Team. The programme gives aspiring footballers the opportunities to develop their talents and focus on full-time academic or vocational courses, should they not quite break through as a professional player.”
Students will get the opportunity to train in and wear the Fleetwood Town shirt as they play each week, representing both the college and a leading local club.
He added: “We would encourage all interested young people and their families to come along to the open trials over the Easter period.”
B&FC has been the highest performing large FE College in the country for student success for two years running, with an ethos of providing opportunities which lead to positive onward progression and successful careers.
To access the programme, players must be U19 on 31 August (male) or U21 on 31 August (female). For further information, contact B&FC on 01253 504154 or email Rachel.Walker@blackpool.ac.uk