My year with Velocity Football – Oxfordshire’s premiere football educational academy

In August 2020, a new full-time educational academy designed for teenagers interested in a career in sport was launched.

Based at Oxford City Football Club, Velocity Football combines football and sport business with academia and allows students to train, play, learn and achieve through quality coaching and education delivered by qualified and experienced coaches and tutors.

Velocity Football’s BTEC, Higher National Certificate and Higher National Diploma programmes are suitable for males and females aged 16 to 18 and 19 to 23.

Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport students Noa Ben-Adel and Tia Herbert were among the first to enrol.

With the summer holidays approaching, we caught up with both students to learn more about their first year with Velocity Football and how it has developed their skillsets both on and off the pitch.

Why Velocity?

Former Cherwell School student Noa knew enrolling with Velocity would help him work towards achieving a career in sport while chasing his dream of becoming a professional footballer.

He completed a work experience placement with Oxford City Football Club to understand the playing and learning environment and has not looked back since.

He said: “I knew I wanted to enrol with Velocity Football. Football is my passion and to combine playing and training with an education towards a sports-based qualification is perfect.

“My work experience placement helped me to understand how day-to-day operations are within the facility. I would love to play professionally one day, but a career in sport is my main focus right now which is why I’m here.”

Player development

Typically, Noa will train three times a week under former Watford, Plymouth, Barnet and Crawley midfielder Ross Jenkins to develop his on-field skills.

Aligned with his training commitments are four days of education, one day of which – usually Thursdays – is completed at home. Each week, students can play one competitive fixture at Tactics League or National League level.

Noa started the academic year playing in the Tactics League, but his commitment in training was recognised and he now plays at National League level – competing against teams across the south-east of England.

“It’s great experience playing at National League level,” said Noa. “Training three times a week has developed my playing ability significantly, I feel fitter and stronger too.

“At the moment, I am usually playing between 20 minutes and a full half which is great, it gives me an opportunity to prove I am capable of stepping into the starting XI if I play well.”

Tuesday 18th August 2020. The Velocity football programme for 16-23-year-olds- based at Oxford City FC’s Court Place Farm- offers academic and BTEC qualifications as well as the chance to join the club’s training academy. Pic by Jon Lewis/ Fortitude Communications.

Student pathway

On July 2, the 17-year-old attacking midfielder will complete his first year with Velocity Football.

Achieving a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport will enable Noa to continue his education further at university.

“I would love to play professionally,” said Noa. “But we’re all aware of how hard it is to become a professional player which is why our classroom work is so important.

“After graduating from Velocity, I want to further my education at university with the goal of becoming a coach. It’s been a great first year and I’m excited to begin the second year of my course in September.”

Students who complete the Level 3 BTEC programme can progress their studies with Velocity Football too through our Level 4 Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Sport and Level 5 BTEC Higher National Diploma (HND) in Sport and Exercise Science.

Nurturing environment

Tia Herbert is a year older than her classmates after she decided to leave sixth form at the conclusion of Year 12 to enrol with Velocity Football.

The Barton United player was previously coached by Lauren Haynes – Head Coach of Velocity Football’s female programme – which is how she became aware of our educational academy.

“I knew Lauren (Haynes) from my time at school,” said Tia. “She told me about the Velocity programme, and it sounded like it was perfect for me, so I joined.

“I would love to work in sport when I am older by inspiring the next generation of players through coaching.

“Units this year have covered what makes a good coach, how to plan sessions and the best ways to deliver them so our work is relevant to what I want to do when I’m older.

“Studying at Velocity is a lot different to being at school. It is a very relaxed environment and the relationship between tutors and students is really positive. Importantly, though, we work hard and get things done.”

Team spirit

In addition to her playing and classroom commitments, Tia has formed new friendships during her time at Velocity.

Tia and her classmates all went beyond the call of duty in January to raise more than £1,000 for mental health charity Sport in Mind via Red January. A month later, she completed a virtual marathon in aid of support packages for families that required help during lockdown.

“We’ve got an amazing team spirit,” said Tia. “I cannot believe at the beginning of September I didn’t know any of my classmate. We have bonded quickly which in my opinion helps us develop in and outside the classroom.

“On the pitch, we’ve reversed losses against teams from earlier in the season into wins which has been amazing. We’re all excited for developing more as a team for next season.”

Inspired? Why not join!  

If you would like to learn more about the qualifications and workplace opportunities Velocity Football can facilitate, our friendly team can be contacted via [email protected] or 0300 303 0890.

Alternatively, visit Sign up – Velocity Football to enquire about signing up to enrol with Velocity Football for the 2021-22 academic year. A list of qualifications and entry requirements can be viewed here.

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