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South Shields FC teams up with University of Sunderland to launch unique football academy


Aspiring footballers from around the world will now have the chance to find success both on and off the field – thanks to a new professional football club international academy programme launching in partnership between South Shields FC and the University of Sunderland.


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

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

These degrees are recognised internationally, and students can choose from the following:

  • Sport and Exercise Science BSc (Hons)

  • Business Management BA Hons

  • Sports and Exercise Science MSc

  • Sports Journalism MA

  • MBA (Sports Management)

The academic programme will allow students to live the experience of a full-time football player and receive the football club’s 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, a performance analysis team and a 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 professional development students to play for the University at regional and national level competitions, but also in a bespoke programme of games playing 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, with players to meet with coaches to discuss and develop individual plans with a series of targets and goals, both short-term and long-term.

South Shields FC sporting director Lee Picton said: “We are absolutely delighted to launch the new South Shields FC International Academy programme in partnership with the University of Sunderland.

“We are fully prepared and committed to deliver a professional footballing experience of the highest possible standard to all the young, aspiring players from around the world who access this programme.

“Our team of on-field coaches and additional player support staff are of the highest calibre and will enable us to unlock the maximum amount of potential from the student athletes that we work with.

“Through our vast footballing network, we also aim to open up some incredible pathways and opportunities beyond the programme, for those players who demonstrate the ability to play at professional level once they’ve graduated from their studies.

“All in all, this is an incredible opportunity for talented young people to experience the best of both worlds, from an academic perspective and a footballing one, and we hugely look forward to welcoming our first cohort to the north-east in September this year.”

University of Sunderland deputy director of international Ian Moody added: “This is a very exciting partnership between the University of Sunderland and South Shields FC.

“The South Shields FC International Academy programme will provide international students with the opportunity to earn an internationally recognised UK qualification while also playing and training in an incredible footballing environment.

“We look forward to welcoming the students into our fantastic community here at the University of Sunderland.”

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


Image: From left to right, South Shields FC sporting director Lee Picton, South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson, University of Sunderland head of international development Lorraine Robertson and University of Sunderland international development officer Tom Atkinson.


1 Comment


Albert Dexter
Albert Dexter
Sep 25, 2023

South Shields Football Club's innovative partnership with the University of Sunderland to create a one-of-a-kind football academy is a game-changer for aspiring athletes. This collaboration promises to combine top-level athletic training with academic excellence through teaching. in quality writing and when you click reference, it ensures that young talents receive a holistic writing education. The future of football and education is bright!

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