Oxfordshire’s premiere football-based educational academy has enrolled a record number of students onto its higher education programmes for people aspiring to a career in sport.
Based at the RAW Charging Stadium in Marston, Velocity Football supports male and female students aged 16-23 by blending full-time training with education, competitive matches and work experience.
Over 100 students are studying the programme’s BTEC, Higher National Certificate (HNC) and Higher National Diploma (HND) courses which provide employment, higher education and professional football pathways.
Enrolment numbers on Velocity’s female course – led by Oxford United Women’s captain Lauren Haynes – have experienced the biggest rise since the programme was successfully revamped in 2020.
Director of Velocity Football Justin Merritt believes the impact of England’s European Championship triumph is already being felt in and around the county.
He said: “August is typically a quiet month at Velocity Football as students mix the option to voluntarily participate in pre-term training with enjoying the remaining weeks of their holidays.
“But since England’s triumph over Germany at Wembley on July 31, our team has experienced a sharp rise in the number of prospective students interested in enrolling – especially onto our female programme.
“Our nation’s historic summer for women’s sport is now being felt across all levels of the sports participation pyramid, and it’s pleasing to see so many young adults aspiring to fulfil a career in sport.
“It’s been fantastic to welcome everyone back onsite after the summer break and we look forward to the challenges on and off the pitch between now and July.”
Graduates of Oxford City’s educational academy in recent years include Forest Green Rovers defender Udoka Godwin-Malife, Bristol City midfielder Ewan Clark and Wycombe’s Garath McCleary.
Velocity has also provided pathways to higher education, employment and apprenticeship opportunities for students interested in coaching, sports analysis, nutrition, strength and conditioning and more.
Ethan Gough graduated from Velocity Football in July and will this month enrol onto a sports journalism degree at Staffordshire University. The teenager represented Oxford City FC as goalkeeper during his studies but decided to pursue a career in media after being exposed to the industry through the course.
He said: “My experience at Velocity Football was fantastic. The education was great and because everything happened on the same site the course was seamless.
“We trained in the morning and go straight into lessons afterwards, there was no travelling to and from different locations and everyone was working together which made for a great learning atmosphere.
“I’m really pleased I enrolled and would encourage anyone interested in a career in sport to do the same.”
Justin added: “We’re not naïve to the facts concerning how many young players achieve their dreams by becoming professional footballers.
“Velocity Football provides a platform for students to chase their ambitions while gaining a relevant qualification suitable for a career in sport or furthering their knowledge and skills via an apprenticeship or university.”
Spaces to enrol onto Velocity Football in 2022-23 remain open. Anyone interested in joining the programme should email [email protected] or call 0300 303 0890.
Or you can visit our autumn open event on Wednesday, October 18, from 6pm until 7pm. Click here to register your interest.