A school academy is hoping to deliver a pathway into sport for its pupils – through football.
Monkwearmouth Football Academy is the latest education-based scheme looking to attract budding footballers who want to get extra coaching alongside their education.
Run by former Foundation of Light coach Martin Jones, the aim is to provide a football education that will develop and support the player to reach their full potential, as well as continuing in football through other routes.
The course provides five hours of football per week in curriculum time, plus has optional extra sessions available.
It caters for players of all abilities, with an elite phase as well as foundation and performance levels.
Jones said: “At Monkwearmouth, we want to make the players realise their full potential and give them a knowledge of the game through varied coaching styles.
“But it is also about developing players off the field too, and help give them a pathway so that students can potentially get a job in sport once they leave education.
“The education is just as important to me, if not more so, than the football side.
“We have picked football to help engage students in their education as well.”
As well as receiving technical and tactical awareness from UEFA qualified coaches, including ex-Sunderland reserve team captain Jamie Chandler, the academy also benefits from a link-up with the Beacon of Light which provides a state of the art environment for the players to learn in.
With more than 150 boys and girls ranging from year seven to 11, Monkwearmouth is continuing to grow and a partnership with the Foundation of Light and South Tyneside College provides post-16 pathways for players both with their academic studies and through an Under-19 National football league.
Among their old boys is Sam Greenwood, the former Sunderland youngster who joined Arsenal in the summer, and is playing for England Under-18s.
Chandler, who started in Sunderland’s academy before going on to be a professional at Gateshead, is enjoying being part of the Monkwearmouth set-up.
He said: “I can bring my experiences gained being a young player to the students.
“We have a high standard of players at Monkwearmouth now, despite only being set up last year, but we want to recruit more pupils across the board and make people aware of what we are doing here.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the academy can contact Jamie by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.