Oxford City FC partner with Brookes Sport to strengthen education and career opportunities

An official partnership has been formed between Oxford City Football Club and Brookes Sport to enhance opportunities for students.

The structured partnership has formalised a long-standing working relationship between the National League South club and the prestigious university. The partnership will maximise shared resources to strengthen education and performance opportunities for Brookes students, Velocity students and Oxford City footballers. The partnership will also provide an elite performance pathway for students wishing to pursue a career in male and female football.

As part of the agreement Oxford City’s Sporting Director Justin Merritt has been appointed Head of Football at Oxford Brookes. While Oxford Brookes University’s Women’s football club’s head coach Mark Andrews has been appointed Head of Women’s Football at Oxford City.

The partnership further strengthens Oxford City’s growing reputation as the premier destination for a footballing education in Oxfordshire. It will enable Oxford City to complete an education pathway for primary and secondary school children and create a formal link into higher education. It will also facilitate work experience opportunities for students within the football club relevant to their academic work and future career plans.

Justin Merritt said: “At Oxford City Football Club, we are great believers in uniting sport and education and creating clear pathways for students to achieve successful careers. We have been working with Oxford Brookes University for several years and are delighted to have formalised our relationship. The strategic partnership agreement has a defined set of objectives that will benefits students, coaches, and footballers and add further governance.

“The relationship will be positive in promoting football in Oxfordshire to an international audience as a place with opportunities to live, study and train. The partnership will further enhance player experiences by providing high quality, diverse and attractive opportunities to enjoy, participate in, and excel at football. The partnership will improve the football club’s access to the university’s research facilities and excellent fitness suite, while also strengthening the pathway for students to play football at a high level. We hope in the future to see Oxford Brookes University graduates representing Oxford City in the first team.”

Marcus Boswell, Sports Performance Manager at Oxford Brookes University said: “Brookes Sport and Oxford City have identified a clear opportunity to support each other in achieving our aspirations. We want to provide an excellent environment for our students to perform, but also to have direct opportunities to gain experience in their chosen field within Oxford City’s many facets through sports science analysis, journalistic roles and many more.

“Enhancing both our men’s and women’s programmes through first class facilities, immeasurably experienced coaching support, and ultimately a professional environment, this will only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of this partnership for our students. We are excited to be working with Justin, Mark, and the rest of the team at Oxford City.”

Mark Andrews said: “Partnering with Oxford Brookes is the next step for Oxford City, and we can take this partnership to the next level by facilitating the crossover of staff and creating an environment for excellence.”

Six players from Oxford Brookes University’s women’s side have committed to representing Oxford City this season. While the men’s team have agreed to monitor the progress of student athletes competing within the BUCS University League with a view to recruiting players that meet the level required in non-league’s second tier.

Daisy Nielson, one of Brookes University’s players who will also represent Oxford City this season, said: “I am excited about this partnership and the opportunities it will create for players competing in all steps of the football performance pyramid across the men’s and women’s game. 

“By increasing opportunities to train and play, individual and club development opportunities will improve. This is the first step in what will be a long and successful partnership between the football club and Oxford Brookes.”

Oxford Brookes’ latest partnership follows on from last month’s announcement that the university had teamed up with Oxford Harlequins to provide an elite performance pathway for students wanting to continue their development at Quins while taking part in projects in the workplace and wider community.

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