Football academy ready for kick-off

Hastings United coaches join ARK William Parker Academy staff and pupils to celebrate the announcement of a new under-19 football academy
Hastings United coaches join ARK William Parker Academy staff and pupils to celebrate the announcement of a new under-19 football academy

Hastings United Football Club (HUFC) and ARK William Parker Academy (AWPA) have joined forces to create an under-19 football academy.

The three-year course will start in September and will combine full-time football coaching with a BTEC and A-Level education programme.

ARK William Parker Academy principal Mark Phillips said: ‘We are very excited by this new initiative. The football academy will enable us to offer a first class opportunity for students to combine educational and sporting excellence. I am delighted that we are able to extend the school’s provision as part of our commitment to the community.”

At present the academy will be available for students studying A-Level courses or equivalent, with the clear strength of the academy being the flexibility and diversity of study that AWPA can offer.

It will be possible to study A-Levels, BTEC Sport or a combination of the two at AWPA. All players will have a personal academic tutor to support their progress.

The football aspect of the academy will, initially, concentrate on the academy team playing in the Sussex Colleges League. This is supported by the opportunity the players will have to play for HUFC at under-18, under-21 and possibly senior level.

In the second year, the academy team hopes to play in the Youth Alliance League with the College League being used to supplement those matches for some players.

Players will train or play within the squad at least three times a week, with the coaching being led by Ben White, the current HUFC under-21 coach and first team assistant manager.

They will also be expected to follow a personal training programme and achieve either a coaching or officiating qualification in football.

White said: “This is a huge step forward in terms of the football development for Hastings United Football Club and the local area.

“It demonstrates the commitment of the football club in developing sound foundations from which we can look to produce more homegrown players at HUFC.

“Plans have been in the pipeline for several years, but with the drive of Conrad Moore and support of Metin Serdar, they should now bear fruit.”

There will be an “Academy Experience” day on Saturday June 21 at William Parker, starting at 11am. This will consist of a training session and match led by White, with staff from HUFC and AWPA on hand to answer any questions that players or parents may have.

AWPA student George Stonham added: “The football academy is a brilliant idea which I’m excited to be a part of. It’s a great opportunity to develop my football skills while improving academically.”

For further information, contact White on 07782 282178 or email j.elford@arkwilliamparker.org