A scouting mission is underway to find aspiring young footballers and coaches for a two-year scholarship programme which could set them on their way to life in the professional game.
Sunderland AFC’s official charity, Foundation of Light, is offering the places with the scheme due to start in September.
Scholarship players train and play in the National Youth Development League, in which all the teams are affiliated to a professional football club across the country, as well as studying part-time for a BTEC Level 3 sports qualification with education partner South Tyneside College. A specialist coach development programme is also open to coaches who can join the Coaches Academy on a similar two-year programme.
On completion, would-be coaches are fully qualified and ready for employment.
Jamie Wright, director of Foundation of Light, said: “Making the right choices when you leave school is daunting for young people, but our scholarship players and coaches can be certain they will find the very best training and facilities and a dedicated and professional team to help them achieve their sporting ambitions.
Alison Maynard, principal of South Tyneside College (Professional and Vocational), added: “Our ultimate goal is to provide all of our trainees with a positive outcome and progression route once the programme finishes, whether that’s extending their stay with the Foundation of Light, going into employment or onto Higher Education.”
Recent successes include Craig Ellison and Lewis King who both signed for Premier League side Burnley FC.