Blue is the colour when it comes to football training after a Crawley school teamed up with a Premiership club to open a new academy.
Thomas Bennett Community College, in Tilgate, has joined forces with Chelsea FC to open the academy programme for 16-19-year-olds.
The programme was well-timed, with the World Cup in full flow and some of England’s young players turning in impressive performances.
The project will launch in September at the college in Ashdown Drive and will combine full-time football training with academic studies.
Thomas Bennett’s headteacher, Ben Smith said he was thrilled with the new course and added: “We consider the course as a really unique and forward-thinking addition to our current sixth-form provision.
“All academic work will be delivered by academy staff in the school environment to allow continuity between football and academic studying.
“Large emphasis will be placed on professional standards and behaviour being maintained at all times.”
Nick Brown, Chelsea FC Foundation’s Development Officer for Sussex and Kent, said: “We are delighted to be working with Thomas Bennett in this way and collaborate to help further develop football in the Crawley area.
“UEFA qualified coaches will work with players to coach and manage all squad members in sessions and in a competitive league with both development and success on the agenda. Differing systems of play, opposition analysis and individual player feedback will all create an environment designed to mature not only the player’s ability but their mental and social approach to the game.”
Among the training facing the students will be the technical, tactical and physical side of football to help develop their ability and understanding of the beautiful game.
They will even compete in under-19 leagues to put their newly taught skills to practical use.
Academy director, Chris Jones said: “Chelsea FC Foundation will provide opportunities not only to further their football achievements but into coaching and football specific Higher Education routes which is a key part of the provision.”