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As part of our progression stories for the ‘Class of 2019’, following on from the NPLFA degree course and Scholarships over the last two days, today we are delighted to showcase our students who will be progressing to university here across the UK.

A total of twenty-six students will be embarking on an exciting new chapter this September, thanks to their hard work over the last two years on their BTEC programme.

Belper Town duo Daniel Daley and Luke Day are both starting Sports Coaching degrees at Sheffield Hallam and Northampton universities respectively, with Daley adding “I was interested about this pathway as it was taking the next step to have a career in the sports industry. My ambition is to work in sport, preferably football as it’s something I love doing. I have enjoyed every aspect of the programme, the highlight playing in the FA Youth Cup, which I also scored in.”

His classmate Luke Day echoed Daley’s thoughts “My ambition is to be a PE Teacher or a Sports Coach and have a career in the Sports industry. I have enjoyed every unit the BTEC has offered, my highlight on the programme was winning the league with Matlock Town in my first year.”

Daley added“I would recommend the NPLFA as you get the opportunity to play football basically every day and if you love playing football, you will love this course.”

Three students will be in Liverpool this September at John Moore’s University. Warrington Town’s Cole Higham, who was named ‘Student of the Year’ in 2017/18, will be studying Sports Business and is looking forward to the step up “I just cannot wait to broaden my horizons and learn new things that I didn’t learn at school or college. I am not entirely sure what I want to do as a career yet but as I get more of a gist for the course and further down the line I will look into it more and then I will know what I want to do.”

“I have had such a good time at the NPLFA. The best thing was meeting all the people where I’ve made new friends but also the educational and football side, I have learnt many new things and have enjoyed every minute of it.”

Ossett United’s Ben Harley, who played several times for the first team, will also be moving to JMU “I am going to Liverpool John Moores to study Science and Football. I have passion and enthusiasm for everything football related, playing, coaching and analysing. This course seems like the perfect one to further my knowledge and understanding of the subject.”

“I would recommend the NPLFA to future school leavers, remember the football is good but it’s not everything as you need to study too! My highlight on the programme was definitely being named in the team of the year for the 2018-19 season and having a successful first year on the field (Ben played for the inter-league team against Wigan Athletic in April 2018). In the second year I focused more on my studies and achieved the grades I needed for my first choice university.”

Carlton Town’s Tom Hutchinson was also a fellow first team debutant and he completes the trio of students progressing to Liverpool John Moores University. “What interested me about this pathway was the opportunity to further my knowledge about the subject and hopefully potentially help people, which I love to do. I’m looking forward to studying at a great university about a subject I thoroughly enjoy. I would like to end up down the psychological side as that is something that interests me.”

“If you are leaving school or sixth form and have a passion for learning and playing the sport, then I would 100% recommend this programme. You get a better standard of pitches and officials and you get great tutors to help you through. The units I enjoyed the most were sports massage and sports injuries.” 

“My highlights were either winning the player of the season in the first season or making my full 90 minute debut for the first team. I would just like to say a massive thank you to everyone that helped me throughout the two years, the tutors, coaches and the first team manager for giving me a chance at a higher standard. Also to the lads I played with giving me a great two years.”

Matlock Town duo Regan Furness and Maasai Dearlove are staying local, whilst moving into higher education. Both students had successful times both on and off the pitch and have secured their places at Derby University and Sheffield University respectively.

Furness commented “I am going to Derby University to take a sports therapy and rehabilitation course. I am really excited to be starting university in September as it has always been a dream of mine to become a sports therapist. The aim is to get a degree in this area and eventually I would like to have my own business.”

“I have enjoyed the programme and would recommend the NPLFA to future school leavers, it is a great programme and gives you some good opportunities such as getting to play at professional football stadiums. One of my favourite units was sports coaching and my highlight was getting the best grades I could which has enabled me to go to university.”

His fellow classmate Dearlove who was named ‘Student of the Year’ and finished as runner up in the NPLFA ‘Player of the Year’ for the 2018/19 season is equally excited at the next chapter in his life. “I am hoping to find a good semi-professional or professional club and further my education by taking a sports management degree at Sheffield University.”

“The adventure and new surroundings is what interested me the most about this pathway. I really enjoyed the programme. Psychology was the best unit I did – I really enjoyed that. On the field going through the season undefeated was fantastic.

“I would just like to thank everyone for their help and guidance over the last few years. If you love football and want to make great memories, I would recommend you get involved with the NPLFA.”

Ossett United’s Kai Taylor is also staying close to home for his venture into higher education “I am going to Leeds Trinity university and I am interested in the multiple opportunities this pathway brings. I would like to continue playing football and become a professional coach one day.

“I have enjoyed playing and bonding with the team and the sports injuries unit was my favourite, I really enjoyed that one. The NPLFA is a good programme for developing your footballing skills whilst also learning about the more complex sides of sport. Thank you for everything!”

Mossley’s goalkeeper Lawrence Gibson who has progressed to the clubs U21 side commented “I am going to Bolton University, where I am hoping to further my knowledge and understanding on sport. My ambition is to be a teacher or a coach, in the classroom I really enjoyed the unit where we planned training sessions and my highlight on the pitch was getting man of the match two seasons running in the FA Youth Cup.”

“I would recommend the NPLFA, it’s a great alternative to a normal college or sixth form. Thank you for a great two years and for showing me great opportunities”

Witton Albion’s Lucas Bowley is taking a different path at higher education level in studying for a law degree. “As of right now I am unsure what I want to do as a career, but I am looking forward to the new challenges and the ‘uni life’, I can’t wait to get started!”

“I have enjoyed my time at the NPLFA, I would recommend it to everyone. I have made some great mates along the way and I would say if you love football but still want to do education then this is the perfect course for you. Thank you for being great people and doing your best to get the best out of me, I really appreciate it!”

Bowley’s classmate Harry Mellor who was named Witton Albion’s ‘Student of the Year’ for the 2018/19 season will also be attending Sheffield Hallam university to undertake a degree in Sports Development. “I have always wanted to be a coach in sport and doing this degree is a great opportunity to achieving this. My ambition would be to be a football coach at the highest level.”

“I would recommend the NPLFA to those who are interested. I would tell them it is a great experience and a great pathway to sports related jobs. I have enjoyed the experience with high level coaches and pushing myself to be the best I can. My favourite unit on the education side was learning what the body needs to do sport and making our own sports drinks to see what goes in them.”

“Thank you very much for helping me to get to university and pushing me to do my best.”

Leek Town’s Jamilee Hough will be heading to university in Manchester “The university experience is what attracted me the most to this pathway, I cannot wait to get started. I am aiming to be a teacher of sport and I have thoroughly enjoyed the programme. My favourite part was learning about sports psychology.”

Asked whether if he would advise school leavers to take the same route “Absolutely! I would tell them to enjoy the practical side of the course, but make sure they put equal effort into the educational side. Thank you to all the staff that has helped me throughout my time at the NPLFA.”

Finally, Jessy Bavanganga may have left the Leek Town Academy but he is still involved with the club as a permanent first team member and he will be combining his playing career with his studies in Staffordshire “My ambition is to be a professional footballer but I will be doing a degree in sports science at Staffordshire University. I am looking forward to developing my education even more and I am really excited to get started.”

“I have enjoyed the course, especially the practical referee unit and would advise anyone else to join as it’s a really good platform to go further in education and football. You have done a great job and continue to do so, you have helped me a lot!”

The NPLFA would also like to wish the following students the best of luck at university: Gio Allen (Sunderland), Oliver Corden (Sheffield Hallam), Jake Broadhurst (Staffordshire), Andrew Henderson-Sayers (Staffordshire), James Sutton (Manchester Met) and Yinka Araba (Lincoln).

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