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Southampton – based College Sports Studies Students in Coaching Scheme with Former Saints

Students at a Southampton college have recently been training with former soccer stars from their local club, writes FE News reporter Mark Feakes.

Eastleigh Colleges Sport Studies students have participated in a coaching scheme with former Saints players Matt Le Tissier and Francis Benali. The players were on hand to coach students working towards their Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Football qualification, a fundamental part of their BTEC and National Diplomas in Sport.

The students were given the opportunity to work with the former Southampton players after being recommended by Saints Academy Coach Jason Blake. Jason has links to Eastleigh College through his involvement in their football enrichment programme and his position as manager of the college football teams.

Smooth Partnership for Practical Coaching

This coaching event was part of a wider UEFA coaching course in which candidates must conduct practical coaching sessions. These sessions ran smoothly as part of a partnership between Eastleigh College and the Professional Footballers” Association (PFA). Jason has been working with the association assisting with the effective delivery of the Level 2 course.

It is hoped that the course will benefit future students greatly as the coaching methods that have been implemented are passed on. The programme has been a success and a worthwhile activity for all those involved, as well as great fun! Jason Blake also took the time to discuss the impact the event had on students and the former professional players.

He commented: “Through the fantastic support of the staff and students of Eastleigh College in partnership with the PFA, we were able to deliver a coaching course that was innovative, educational and enjoyable. The course has benefited the candidates who range from ex international professional footballers, elite sport scientists and local students. Now we have a successful structure in place, I am confident that this will benefit future students over the next few years.”

A High Level of Training

Working alongside former international level players has helped Eastleigh’s Sports Studies students. Future events should in turn prove to be a valuable way of developing the ability of players and maximising their potential. Lou Gittens, the Teaching and Learning Manager for 14-18 year olds at Eastleigh College, highlighted the potential of hosting similar events in the future, saying: “This is a great opportunity for the students. They benefit from having some professional coaching, and it demonstrates the good working relationship the College has with organisations in the local area. We hope to continue this relationship in the future.”

Through building on the bond between the college and the PFA coaching programmes can develop and provide a major platform for sharing skills and nurturing raw talent. This system should prove useful to the future players who will be trained by Level 2 qualified coaching experts.

Mark Feakes

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