From education to employment

Student rising stars take on SAFC

South Shields Football Club(@SouthShieldsFC) will play the first fixture of the pre-season against Sunderland AFC on 13 July – and included in their lineup are four University of Sunderland students from the South Shields FC International Academy programme.

The South Shields FC International Academy programme – which launched last September – allows players to combine a UK degree with professional soccer development.

Through this unique soccer development programme, students are given the opportunity to receive a professional elite academy coaching programme with South Shields FC while studying a three-year degree or post-graduate programme at the University.

Adam Shaw, Head of International Academy at South Shields Football Club says:

“We are delighted that all of our student athletes have shown they have significantly developed during their time with us on our International Academy and, in doing so, four players have been rewarded with the invitation to join pre-season training with our first team.

“The student athletes have applied hard work to their talent and will see the rewards when they are given the opportunity to play in some exceptionally high profile first team fixtures as part of the pre-season schedule. This exposure will add significant gravitas in relation to placing them in the “shop window” when it comes to securing professional high level playing contracts.”

The four University of Sunderland student players taking to the field on Saturday are Yeonhyuk Kwak (from Republic of Korea), studying BA Business Management, and (all studying MSc Sport and Exercise Sciences); Ryan Dougherty (USA), Mauricio Kosegarten López (Mexico), and Jaiden Odle.

Jaiden Odle, 23, from London, can’t wait to take to the pitch as right fullback for South Shields FC. He says:

“The thing I’m most looking forward to is playing against a Championship team, but the Academy this year has been great for meeting people from different walks of life all interested in football.

“I’ve been able to develop my footballing skills over the year with all the coaching I’ve got and with the games I’ve played. As for my career ambitions and studies, the Academy has been able to give me a Plan B if football doesn’t work out.”

Ian Moody, Director of the University’s International Office, added,

“The University of Sunderland’s partnership with South Shields FC has given our student athletes the opportunity to not only develop their footballing skills, but also work towards obtaining a degree.

“We are thrilled to announce that four of our students have been selected to play in the first team in the upcoming match against SAFC. We look forward to supporting them on the day and are excited to see what the future holds for them and for the partnership.”

South Shields FC’s Adam Shaw added:

“Through our partnership with the University, the fact the players have been able to train full time for the last year whilst studying, has allowed them to maximise their ability and given them a great chance of going on to play at a very high level within the game.”

The South Shields FC International Academy programme includes students from BSc Sport and Exercise Science, BA Business Management, MSc Sport and Exercise Science. MA Sports Journalism and MBA Sports Management.

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