Fast-track entry for latest newboys

By David Watters

EVO-STIK League Loughborough Dynamo have become the fifteenth club to join the ground-breaking Northern Premier League Football Academy.

Like Widnes Town who became an active NPLFA club in August, Leicestershire's Dynamo are being fast-tracked into the unique sporting and educational programme and have been placed in the newly named ‘Sports Traider’ division.

The Northern Premier League's official charity partner for the third season running, Sports Traider are providing bursaries for more than 30 students again in 2018-19 and the EVO-STIK League East newcomers are looking forward to benefiting from the educational partnership the NPLFA agreed with Loughborough College in 2017 to allow students to continue their studies to degree level.

Stafford Rangers will be become an active member of the NPLFA for season 2019-20 after also joining this summer and Loughborough Dynamo's assistant manager Jay Groocock, the current head of football at Loughborough College, is delighted to be able to get on board so quickly.

Groocock said: “We are delighted to be joining the Northern Premier League Football Academy with one of the most unique football and education offers within the country. As assistant manager of Loughborough Dynamo first team, this is a huge opportunity to develop some of the best available footballing talent within the area and oversees within the 16-19 age range.

“Currently on the men’s football programme we have many local and international players that are being educated at the college and that are staying within the elite accommodation offered by the college on site. Due to the college's lasting legacy of developing world class athletes, we intend to make our mark with recruitment and the NPLFA gives us that platform.

“The club's partnership with Loughborough College and the NPLFA means that all club players will be official students of one of the best education establishments in the UK and as head of football this once again adds to the performance level of the men’s football programme.

“I believe this unique partnership just adds to the worldwide reputation for sport and education within the Loughborough area. Everyone at the club and the college are really looking forward to this exciting partnership and I would just like to thank the college, the club and the NPLFA for making this possible.”

An NPLFA spokesman said: “We are delighted and excited to have Loughborough Dynamo on board. With our partnership with Loughborough College already, it was a natural progression to have the areas local NPL club on board and we are pleased they will join the programme straight away. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the leagues programme and the addition of five clubs shows how much and how quick it is progressing.”

More than 300 students at 13 clubs benefited from the NPLFA’s Football Association approved programme last season with the numbers set to rise again in September and again next year with the immediate entry of Loughborough Dynamo and newly promoted North West Counties Football League runners-up Widnes before Stafford Rangers join in 2019.

The NPLFA was founded in 2014 to provide career pathways into the football industry with students studying on two year BTEC courses. Since last season, students have been able to continue their education to degree level after the NPLFA teamed up with Loughborough College in the summer of 2017 to launch a new higher education partnership.

The NPLFA's coaches have been looking to enlist their next generation of champions in recent weeks as the senior season got fully underway with trials for potential students at all clubs. For more information on the limited places still available and to apply visit: nplfa.co.uk/register.

The NPLFA's active member clubs are Belper Town, Carlton, Kidsgrove Athletic, Leek Town, Matlock Town, Mickleover Sports, Mossley FC, Ossett United, Radcliffe FC, Warrington Town, Sutton Coldfield Town, Widnes and Witton Albion and from next season, Stafford Rangers.

To see the NPLFA's latest promotional videos and success stories, follow on Twitter at @NPLFA or visit: www.nplfa.co.uk.

Image courtesy of @Sheffieldfc/Twitter

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