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Students making their mark by progressing with non-league clubs

Plans to create a pathway to help stars of the future take the first steps on the footballing ladder are coming to fruition at the Stamford Football Academy.

The Borderville-based football and education programme - which is run in conjunction with New College Stamford and Stamford AFC – saw a number of its students progress onto the non-league scene during last season.

After Harry Peasgood signed a contract with the Daniels at the start of last season, several of their other talented teenagers made appearances in the United Counties League.

Stamford Football Academy (11807200)
Stamford Football Academy (11807200)

Will Barnes – grandson of ex-Stamford player Barry Barnes – was with Premier Division side Holbeach United while Ethan Ellison, Shaun Archer, Phillip Andre, Dawid Kaoalski, Callum Buyes and Joe Hussey all gained experience in Division One with Blackstones.

They are all expected to be involved in pre-season with United Counties League clubs and Academy coach Chris Palmer was thrilled with the progression of the scheme’s proteges who also helped secure strong finishes in the English Colleges Football Association leagues.

He said: “It’s like a ladder system which we’ve put in place. I want to push four or five players from the Academy second team into the firsts throughout the season.

“And then, as the players develop, we will look at getting them involved with United Counties League sides.

“We’ve had good reports from those who have been with clubs last season and they will hopefully be looking to get them back involved when they return for pre-season training.

“The pathway we have created gives players an extra incentive.”

The Academy – which has just completed its third year – is holding a taster day on Friday, June 28, for potential new recruits (9am-4pm).

Pre-season dates will also be run on August 12, 14, 19, 21 and 28 from 10am-12.30pm at their Zeeco Stadium base.

The course also gives students the opportunity to gain industry recognised qualifications as well as playing in weekly competitive and development matches.

Head coach Gary Brown explained: “We will always give players the opportunity to progress as high as possible. We won’t look to hold anyone back for our own benefit.

“Lads who do well will progress through our teams, but there’s also an education pathway with the opportunity of going to university.

“The University Campus of Football Business (UCFB) provides undergraduate and postgraduate football and sports degrees.

“You could be based at Wembley Stadium or the Etihad which is a fantastic experience to have your classroom overlooking the Wembley pitch.

“There’s also a chance to get involved with coaching which offers a different pathway.

“We recently ran a trip to the National Football Centre at St George’s Park which was an eye-opening experience to have a training session with the FA’s coaches.”

Anyone who requires further information can email sfa@stamford.ac.uk or call 01780 484311.

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