United Future Elite Education Scheme Success

30th March 2016

Nathaniel Crofts is the latest player to be signed by Sheffield United Football Club on a scholarship as a result of a training scheme delivered with The Sheffield College.

The United Future elite education and training programme is for talented young footballers who aspire to turning professional. Seventeen-year-old Nathaniel, from Shirecliffe, has taken the HKL North Midlands Under 21 Development league by storm scoring seven goals in five appearances. Nathaniel will now train full-time at The SteelPhalt Academy with other SUFC scholars. Lee Dunn, Head Coach, United Future, said: -It's another positive step forward for the programme and not only excellent news for Nat but it really does show that the hard work and endeavour of the coaching staff is paying off. It's ultimately what the programme was set up for and it is yet more proof that it is working. The United Future programme offers young people the chance to complete a recognised vocational qualification and hone their technical skills with SUFC. Delivered by SUFC's Academy and The Sheffield College, the programme is aimed at 16 to 18-year-olds who have previous experience of playing to an elite level and want to develop a career as a footballer, as well as those who want the business know-how to break into the football, sport and leisure industries. Nick Cox, Academy Manager, SUFC, said: -It is great to have a programme like this within the academy structure, and working in tandem with our youth team enables the opportunities for United Future players to impress and develop. Nat has and that's the reason why he has been signed on a scholarship. Course places are available. Applicants have to attend some practical trials and pass a formal interview before being offered a course place. If you are aged 16 to 18 and want more information, or to express an interest, please email Lee Dunn at lee.dunn@sheffcol.ac.uk. Students study for a BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport, Performance and Excellence at Level 3 that is equivalent to A Levels. They also spend part of their week training with the SUFC Academy at Shirecliffe, gaining an insight into the workings of a professional football club, shadowing senior staff and having access to Academy training and first team matches. In addition to offering a recognised qualification and an intensive training and development programme, that mirrors the experience of a SUFC youth team player, the programme provides the chance to achieve FA National Governing Body qualifications. Heather Smith, Principal, The Sheffield College, added: -This is a great programme that equips students with the broader vocational knowledge and skills needed for a career in the football, leisure and sports industries, as well as the chance to go on to further degree level studies at college or university. For information about The Sheffield College's April opening evenings for full-time courses starting in September, visit http://www.sheffcol.ac.uk/Young-Learners/Open-Evenings

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