Launched in 2003 at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, The New Saints Football Scholarship, in partnership with Walford and North Shropshire College, has gone from strength to strength. From a standing start of a single team playing local matches, the programme has now grown to embrace over 60 scholars, made up of three squads, playing in the English Colleges Football Association (ECFA) high quality national leagues.
The overall aim of the programme is for ‘scholars to maximise their football potential whilst gaining nationally recognised practical coaching and academic sport qualifications’. This is enabled by delivering a unique timetable that allows scholars to ‘train, play, study and learn’. Timetables are planned to combine match days, training sessions, and lesson time in order to maximise the learning experience. Typically each programme is timetabled over 4 days per week, with lessons in the morning, and coaching in the afternoon. Matches are played on Wednesdays and Saturdays. On balance education is 13 hours per week with10 hours per week allocated for coaching.
The three squads are placed into Elite and Development categories, with progression to each level monitored. All training sessions are led by qualified TNS Coaching staff and travel with the teams on match days. Training takes place either at The Venue, home of The New Saints and/or well-equipped facilities at the Oswestsry campus, including Floodlit Muga, Training Pitch, and brand new full sized football pitch. The college also makes use of nearby £10m newly built Leisure Centre.
Education wise the programme supports qualifications at both Levels 2 and 3, learners studying for a BTEC National Diploma in Sport, Coaching and Development. BTEC Diplomas are nationally recognised brands that allow for entry into University or career related employment.
All scholars are encouraged to take extra football coaching qualifications and this year the L1 Certificate in Football Coaching, delivered by Shropshire FA, through 1st 4 Sport has been added to the programme. This year scholar Ryan Kershaw has been successful in gaining a first team contract, the latest in a long line of scholars who have been offered professional terms by the club.
The next set of football trials is due to take place on April the 17th at The Venue from 13:30pm.
Please contact Scott Ruscoe on firstname.lastname@example.org