A quartet of Worthing College Academy of Sport football squad players have received calls to represent England at under-18 level.
Luke Brodie, Fintan Walsh, Annie Rolf and Valentine Pursey all made the cut for both England Colleges’ male and female under-18 teams.
In total, ten Worthing students, (six boys and four girls), made it through to the trial process that first took place at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College.
In the final trial, which was held at Nottingham Forest’s training ground, Brodie, Walsh, Rolf and Pursey made this season’s squad, while Jack Newhouse and Charlie Williamson could count themselves unfortunate not to earn a spot in the final 18.
Worthing College’s men’s performance programme head coach Dave Hall spoke of his pride after seeing four of his students make this year’s England College team.
He said: “It’s great to see that players from Worthing College are not only getting the opportunity to trial for this national side, but also making the final squads, which will be another superb experience for these individuals as well as further increasing their development.
“These opportunities will bode them well in the short-term, but also their long term career aspirations. Representing your country is a massive honour and will aid any future university or job application, plus with scholarships to America available; these players have real opportunities ahead of them.”
Both male and female England College teams have had their opening games, with three of the four Worthing students involved.
The ladies’ side went down 3-2 against Sheffield Football Club, while England Colleges’ men’s team sealed a 2-2 draw with Independent Schools FA National team at St George’s Park. Fixtures in 2017 include a two-legged encounter with near rivals Wales, then both teams travel to Rome and Estonia for tours.
Following feedback from the England College coaches, Hall hailed the attitude and maturity shown from his students.
He said: “The aim of Worthing College is to not only develop players, but to develop people and this is something we are all proud of.
“I received some great feedback from England’s coaches with regards to the players and their attitudes as well as their respect for all and willingness to take on information.
“Both squads take these individual honours as a group, which produces an aspirational environment, then in turn increases all player and game intelligence development levels.
“In four seasons now, eight men and six female players have gone onto represent England which is a great honour. On top of this, numerous players have represented Sussex at FA and/or School level.”
Worthing’s two male representatives last year were Ross Edwards and Pat Webber. For those in the squad this year, Hall feels they should look no further than the way that pair conducted themselves while on England duty.
Following some fine performances, Webber went onto earn a two-year scholarship deal with Championship team Ipswich Town and was an unused substitute in their FA Cup tie with Lincoln on Saturday. Edwards, meanwhile, has made several appearances for Worthing in the Ryman League this season.
Following their successes, Hall hopes to see the current quartet impress and said: “The players will be looking to the likes of Ross and Pat, who represented England Colleges last year. Pat is now at Ipswich, so it shows there are opportunities to get into the professional game. However, if this is not the case, the progression routes that are provided and supported at the College put all the players in the right place to realise their full potential.”
For more information about sport courses at Worthing College visit www.worthing.ac.uk or email Dave Hall on firstname.lastname@example.org
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