Talented Sunderland College trio gain international recognition with Three Lions and Lionesses

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‘Representing your country is an outstanding achievement and one that they will never forget’

Three talented footballers who are studying at Sunderland College are celebrating being called up to their national teams, including taking part in the girls’ under 17’s European Championships.

Louis Burns, James Sloan and Emily Cassap are part of the college’s Sports Academies but are also studying a range of different academic and vocational subjects as they look to follow a potential dual career path.

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Sunderland College students Louis Burns, James Sloan and Emily Cassap.Sunderland College students Louis Burns, James Sloan and Emily Cassap.
Sunderland College students Louis Burns, James Sloan and Emily Cassap.

Emily is part of Sunderland AFC’s Professional Game Academy (PGA) alongside studying for her A-Levels.

Emily has travelled with England under 17’s Lionesses both at home and abroad and is part of the squad selected for the European Championships taking place later this month (May) in Sweden.

She said: “I feel so proud I’m able to play internationally as it's a big achievement and I always look forward to doing it. 

“Through the college, I get the opportunity to balance my education and football, giving me the ability to do both things as they’re both equally as important to me.”

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James was selected for England Schoolboys at the start of the 2023-24 season and has played in games against Northern Ireland and Wales, with the Wales fixture being screened live on Channel 4. 

Team mate Louis has also been part of the Three Lions squads and both boys also play for South Shields FC.

James said: “Representing England is a great achievement, and I’ve got to play internationally which has always been a dream of mine. 

“Being a student athlete is hugely beneficial for me, because I'm able to go to training when I need to and next season I'm hoping to get my first professional contract with South Shields and the college has helped me get there.”

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Louis added: “I'm very proud to have the opportunity to represent England and play internationally. I’ve had some great experiences and met some great people. 

“As a student athlete, you can fit college, education and football into one, so I've got two different pathways to be able to follow.”

Commenting on the trio’s achievements, Michele Di Mascio, Head of Sports Academies, Partnerships and Wellbeing, said: “Louis, Emily and James have been fantastic student-athletes this year and have really highlighted our willingness to have a real dual-career approach. 

“All of our Sports Academy student-athletes have the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects, and this summarises what we are all about.

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“The College has shown commitment to sport but they have also shown commitment to ensure they prioritise both parts of their programme. 

“Their sporting achievements are sensational, and we are all extremely proud to see them flourish. Representing your country is an outstanding achievement and one that they will never forget.”

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