Exciting chance to join Crossbar Football Performance Academy

Students who have signed up for the first Crossbar Football Performance Academy have given course leaders positive feedback after a highly-successful first term.

Gavin Cowan, the director of Shrewsbury-based Crossbar Coaching Education in Sport, said there is an opportunity for three more ambitious local teenagers to join the two-year full time programme which combines football and education.

Based at Hadley Learning Community in Telford, the group of 22 students from across Shropshire are working towards achieving a Level 3 BTEC national extended diploma in sport, the equivalent of three A Levels.

They also spend plenty of time on the practical side, perfecting their football skills via a number of training sessions each week, while they also play regular matches against teams from around the UK.

Gavin, a former professional footballer with Shrewsbury Town, said: "The course is going phenomenally well and we've got a great group of students. The early feedback we've received has been excellent. We promised to deliver an exciting and varied programme when they attended our open evening and that's what we are doing.

"Myself and Jamie Haynes are making sure they get the full benefit of our experience while experts are coming in to deliver strength and conditioning work.

"It's an amazing experience for the students and they are already starting to see the rewards.

"Through our connections, we've also arranged some trips and recently took them to St George's Park, the FA's National Football Centre. We were treated to a tour, had some lunch, watched the England under-21s train and then the students also had the chance to train on the excellent pitches.

"In terms of aspiration, it's getting them to understand what they can achieve in the future from what we're doing on a daily basis, which is offering an insight into the world of a professional and giving them a first-hand experience."

Gavin added he would be pleased to welcome three more new recruits to the course: "We've got 22 on board and there's room for 25, so there is space for three more," he said.

"We're playing our home fixtures at Lilleshall's National Sports Centre. The students will shortly enjoy a tour of Lilleshall's excellent facilities, which will include watching the GB men's gymnastics team and GB wheelchair rugby team train.

"That will again be a great insight for the students to see what elite sport is like, how you prepare, how you train, and the effort and endeavour that's required.

"We're off to Marlborough College in January, perhaps the most prestigious sport college in the country, on a residential visit, so if there's any young men aged 16 and over who feel they would like to join us, they are more than welcome to come and have an interview."

Gavin added Crossbar are also inviting applications for three more young people - open to both male and females aged between 16 and 18 - to join their PE in School Sport apprenticeship programme.

He said: "The apprentices are getting hands on experience within Shropshire schools and they're doing their qualifications.

"They also have an opportunity to look at elite sport and how you need to prepare and conduct yourself. We took them down to Essex to do some white water rafting with the GB men's and women's rafting team, so that was a great experience for them."

Applications to join Crossbar's Football Performance Academy, or to become an apprentice should be submitted to [email protected] with more details available by calling (01743) 362368.

Pictured: Students from the Crossbar Football Performance Academy enjoy a training session with Gavin Cowan at St George's Park, the FA's National Football Centre.