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It’s been another incredibly successful year in the NPL Football Academy, with a record number of students from the ‘Class of 2019’ progressing into higher education.

Today we highlight some of those students who are progressing onto one of our degree courses (in partnership with Loughborough College), which gives them the opportunity to continue their education both in the classroom and on the training pitch with their respective clubs.

A total of twenty-six students across our clubs – an impressive 24% of the ‘Class of 2019’ – will be extending their stay with the NPLFA this September and furthering their academics to university level.

Witton Albion student Stefan Sorensen, who was on the bench for the first team on Saturday, commented “I am looking forward to continuing to play and train with Witton Albion whilst carrying on my education and gaining a degree… with the ultimate dream and ambition to play football professionally. If football is your passion, this programme is brilliant. I was motivated to do well in education by the fact that I was being coached and playing football nearly every day of the week. Thanks to the NPLFA, Avron (coach) and Laura (tutor) for everything!”

His thoughts were echoed by Carlton Town student Thomas Ball who added “I am looking forward to learning more about the sporting world and being able to continue to play at the same time. My ambition is to play as high as I can and to become a football coach.”

Ball’s fellow club mate Oliver James wants to use his experience he has gained over the last two years to help others in the game “I want to use my knowledge to help and improve those within football. My ambition is to end up coaching at a professional club and I feel this course can help me achieve that. I would recommend the NPLFA because its an experience like no other, you get to be independent with your learning and have amazing support for tutors, coaches and other staff at the NPLFA. My advice for any school leavers looking to join the programme, is if you love football and are interested in sports then it’s an easy decision, the NPLFA is for you and you won’t regret it”

Another Carlton student taking the same route is Tyler Langham who has unfortunately suffered from injuries during his time on the programme but has gained the results needed to progress onto his chosen pathway “I have definitely enjoyed the theory side of the programme, however due to injury, I didn’t get to fully experience the footballing side. I have enjoyed learning new ideas from my tutor which I needed to develop to where I wish to be.”

Nathan Fozzard-Green has enjoyed his time on the programme and recommends it to school leavers “I have really enjoyed the programme, with Sports Coaching the standout unit for me and what I wish to do in the future. I would like to keep pushing myself both on and off the pitch and ultimately pursue a career in sport. Playing in the FA Youth Cup was my highlight and I would recommend the NPLFA massively, you have to push yourself on and off the pitch as there are so many doors that can be opened for your career.”

Radcliffe FC have six students progressing onto the degree courses and midfielder Danny Godridge cannot wait to start next month “I’m very eager to start and wish to excel in Sports Coaching with the ambition to coach at as high a level as possible. I have really enjoyed the programme, especially the extended practical sessions and I would recommend the NPLFA to everyone, it is a great experience and one I will never forget.”

His fellow midfielder Jake Cubbins commented “It’s a great programme, especially the education with good teaching. I have enjoyed my time over the last two years. I have got to meet some new lads who educate each other throughout the year and I loved playing in the FA Youth Cup at Stockport County.”

Striker Lewis Shore has his eyes set on being a teacher and football coach and see’s this degree course as a great step towards that. “I am looking forward to gaining a degree and going down the teaching route. My favourite unit was when we had to plan our own coaching sessions and this is a programme I would recommend to everyone. My advice would be to ensure you do not leave your coursework to the last minute to ensure you get the best grades. Thank you NPLFA for the opportunities throughout the two years.”

Five students from Warrington Town will be joining the degree course at one of our new clubs Runcorn Linnets with ‘the Yellows’ no longer a member of the programme. Harrison Thatcher, Max Jones, Aiden Griffths, George Falherty and Ross Avies are continuing their stay with the NPLFA with the latter looking forward to learning more about the Sports Management degree “My dream is to play football professionally, but I know it will be hard to do so. As a backup, I would like to be involved in football as much as I can and I am looking forward to learning more about the Sports Management degree. I have enjoyed the course and the analysis unit in particular.” 

Finally, Connor Hughes – who completed his second year at Widnes FC following a transfer from Warrington Town to join his younger brothers – is looking to coach at a big club one day. “I have enjoyed the experience of playing at first-team stadiums and loved the analysis unit where we got to study our filmed games. I would definitely recommend the NPLFA. You can study a great course and expand on your knowledge of Sport. I would like to thank the staff at Widnes for helping me get through the second year, they’ve been a massive help and I couldn’t have asked for better support.” 

For more information on the degree course, please enquire at and be sure to keep an eye out throughout this year on how our students are getting on.

Tomorrow, we take a look at the ‘Class of 2019’ who have progressed onto scholarships abroad.

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