From education to employment

#WeAreInternational: University Vice-Chancellor “impressed by vision” of new football academy

From the University of Sunderland Hong Kong campus earlier this month, to sunny South Shields last week – the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive has certainly been busy.

Sir David Bell visited South Shields FC on Tuesday (May 23) to find out more about the club’s exciting new partnership with the University, which aims to give aspiring footballers from around the world a chance to find success both on and off the field.

The South Shields FC International Academy programme, which starts this September, will allow players to combine a UK degree with professional soccer development.

Through this unique bespoke soccer development programme, students will have the opportunity to receive a professional and thorough elite academy coaching programme with South Shields FC while studying a three-year degree or postgraduate programme at the University. These degrees are recognised internationally, and students can choose from the following:

Sport and Exercise Sciences BSc (Hons)

Business Management BA Hons

Sports and Exercise Sciences MSc

Sports Journalism MA

MBA (Sports Management)

Sir David said: “It was a pleasure to visit South Shields FC last Tuesday morning. I was impressed by the vision being shown by owner Geoff Thompson and sporting director Lee Picton as they seek to build both a successful football club and an outward-facing, community-orientated organisation.

 “I am delighted that, together, we have established an innovative programme that will combine sporting and academic excellence. I am very optimistic about its prospects for success and so I look forward to welcoming a new generation of talented – South Shields FC – student footballers to the University of Sunderland.”

The bespoke academic programme will allow students to benefit from working with a full-time football club and receive its pro-development coaching timetable largely consisting of on-pitch sessions with a focus on decision-making skills and tactical understanding alongside individual, position-specific skills, performance analysis team and mental skills coach. As well as on-field coaching, students will also have access to professionally led strength and conditioning sessions to supplement their training.

In addition, there will be a highly structured games programme, allowing the students to play for the University at regional and national level competitions. They will also be able to play against professional academy teams from around the UK.

When training with South Shields FC, students will be instructed by an experienced team of staff who have played for and coached at a variety of English Premier League clubs. The coaching team will work with players on an individual basis – players will meet with coaches to discuss and develop individual plans with a series of targets and goals, both short-term and long-term.

Lee Picton, Sporting Director at South Shields FC, said: “It was an absolute pleasure and honour to welcome Sir David Bell to South Shields FC. We are extremely excited about our new partnership with the University of Sunderland, not just on the development of the International Football Academy programme but looking at many other ways we can explore creative synergies and opportunities between both organisations.

“We greatly look forward to working together with Sir David and the executive team at the University moving forwards to see what can be achieved.”

More information about the South Shields FC International Academy programme can be found here

The University of Sunderland is supporting the #WeAreInternational campaign. 

Ten years after the campaign was first launched, it has rebooted to celebrate the contributions – economic, cultural, social, civic – international students make to the UK. 

The campaign has been developed by Universities UK International (UUKi)UKCISABUILALondon Higher, British Council: Study UK  and other sector bodies. 

Related Articles