Oxford City FC sign 14 Velocity Football students into development team

More than a dozen Velocity Football students will represent Oxford City Football Club’s U23s this season after impressing in training at the full-time educational academy.

The National League South club’s development team manager James Thorpe has selected 14 students to be part of City’s U23s squad which trains twice a week and competes in the Suburban Football League Premier Division.

James is supported by fellow UEFA B Licence coaches Lloyd Owers and Ben Davis, goalkeeping coach Lee Grant and a medical team. The U23 squad is a development squad aimed at accelerating players into first team football. The squad has full use of the Velocity Stadium’s facilities which includes two 3G pitches, a mini-gym, classrooms for analysis sessions and changing rooms.

Velocity Football is a full-time sports-based education programme based at Oxford City FC.

It has a strong partnership with the football club, as part of its commitment to providing a strong development pathway for its students. Part of this commitment involves James taking multiple training sessions through the academic year so he can identify outstanding talent.

“There is a very close link between Oxford City’s first-team, the U23s and Velocity Football,” explained James. “Velocity has changed massively since the programme was successfully revamped last summer.

“The facilities, equipment and standard of coaching that students have access to daily is fantastic. It’s a great environment to be in and gives young players an insight into what it is like to become a professional footballer or indeed work in sport.

“It’s most teenagers’ dream to become a professional footballer, but the programme caters for those interested in a career in sport across all sectors too which is vitally important. I enjoy delivering sessions and look forward to working with students through the year.” 

Typically, Velocity students will each week combine four midweek training sessions with a competitive match while studying a relevant qualification delivered by Virtual Learning UK tutors.

The courses are suitable for young people aged 16 to 24 wishing to fulfil a career in sport or further their education at university.

Combining education with individually managed on-site training at Oxford City FC allows students to reach their full potential on and off the pitch. James hopes this strategy and his experience can pave the way to a successful campaign.

“Much like Velocity, U23s football is all about development – results are secondary,” said James. “Being part of the U23s squad means players experience new elements to being part of a team.

“For example, we have invested in new equipment so students can benefit from full analysis sessions with the support of VEO Camera and GPS tracking devices which monitor performance.

“Analysis is hugely important in modern day football. Any coach, player or team who wants to progress their game must invest time in analysing performances. It’s why reflecting on games and sessions with the input of video and data forms part of our training sessions.

“Travelling is another aspect. We’re back on the road to Maidstone United this Saturday after starting our campaign at Corinthian Reserves at the weekend. The start of the season is always exciting and so far, the attitudes of players and students has been spot on.”

Velocity Football students who have signed for Oxford City U23s this season include: Riley Pledge, Pelumi Maxwell, Louis Goodall, Jacob Fielding-Bishop, Patrick Osborne, Lewis Reeve, Latrell Humphrey-Ewers, Calvin Allen, Gabriel Amadiah, Latham Hawkins, Tyan Hawkins, Ewan Clarke and twins Luke and Dan Stokoe.

Justin Merritt, Velocity Football director, said: “This is a great achievement for our students and demonstrates their ability and the strength of our coaching and the development pathway at Velocity Football. It is fantastic to see our students progressing and maturing as people.”

Several other students within the Velocity Football programme remain on trial with City’s development team and will combine their study and training commitments with U23s sessions.

To enquire about joining Velocity Football for the 2021-22 academic year, please contact [email protected] or call 0300 303 0809. Entry requirements and further details about Virtual Learning UK’s courses are available via Velocity Qualifications – Velocity Football.

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