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Futures Academy (11-16)

Following the successful launch and ongoing progress of the club’s Academy (16-19s) in season 2017-18 we are delighted to extend our elite pathway by introducing a brand new Futures Academy (11-16s) ahead of the new season.

The Futures Academy is being spearheaded by South Shields Football Club and Mortimer Community College – a partnership that will offer talented young footballers from age 11 a comprehensive five-year ‘elite football in education’ experience.

This is an exciting addition to an already strong elite football pathway that has so far seen two academy players make competitive debuts at first-team level, and a further eight now training regularly with the first-team squad.

The new academy will kick-off in August 2018, although a recruitment process is now underway to identify an initial cohort of talented and committed footballers and learners currently studying within Year 6.

The Futures Academy will initially operate with an Under-12 squad (Year 7) throughout the 2018-19 season.

Thereafter, a new age group will join the programme every academic year until every age group from U12-U16 (Year 7 – Year 11) is represented in 2022-23.

The programme will be led by an experienced team of highly experienced coaches, teachers and support staff with a long-term commitment to support each student’s combined football and academic development all the way through to the end of their Year 11 studies.

Each week, our Futures Academy students will receive up to 10 hours of professional coaching delivered by a team of locally renowned academy coaches employed full-time by the football club.

A detailed overview of football specific activity and timetabling will be available to interested players during the recruitment process.

A key part of the programme will be a comprehensive games programme to compliment the weekly training schedule.

These games will be played against suitably challenging opposition, ensuring the needs of the players are met throughout the season.

The educational aspect of the programme is absolutely central to achieving success.

The broad and balanced curriculum at Mortimer Community College will have a strong focus on the core subjects of English, Maths and Science, which we believe are the foundations for success across the full curriculum.

Students on the programme will also study History, Geography, Spanish and RE.

These academic subjects will be supported by a range of creative and technical subjects, including Design Technology, Computing and PE.

This programme is inspired by the Academy vision: Together towards a brighter future.

The vision is underpinned by a joint commitment from club and school to build learning environments that will enable youngsters to become the best they can be.

Every student involved will have access to a dedicated team of staff providing bespoke support to help them recognise and fulfil their academic and sporting potential.

The Futures Academy will be led by Wess Brown and Jamie Williams, two locally renowned coaches with extensive knowledge and experience of working with young players within professional football academy settings, grassroots clubs and in education.

The pair, who work full-time for the football club, will work alongside their colleagues Lee Picton and Graham Fenton, who are responsible for the leadership of the Academy (16-19) that operates in conjunction with Sunderland College as well as joint management of the clubs first-team.

Together they aim to construct the best possible platform for promising local players to reach their potential, and progress towards the South Shields FC first-team, or even progress to a higher level of performance.

South Shields FC Academy is the perfect environment for ambitious young players to develop their skills.

Involvement in this programme will support any existing or future involvement at professional football club academies.

Our staff are passionate about helping young people be the best they can be and our commitment to support players on an individual basis will ensure that the needs of any player participating within two elite programmes are fully met, challenged and ideally accelerated.

We will work closely with other clubs and organisations to ensure that all decisions made by South Shields FC and Mortimer Community College are in the very best interest of the child.

To find out more about the programme and/or to enquire about trial opportunities, please email

Supporting quotes

South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson: “The launch of this initiative and partnership with Mortimer Community College is another important step in progressing our football club as an integral part of the South Tyneside community. We are determined to continue our momentum and to make sure the club is well positioned for success in all of our various activities.”

South Shields FC head of youth performance and development Jamie Williams: “The partnership with Mortimer Community College is further evidence of the club’s ongoing ambition and commitment to shape our future in the present, taking every opportunity to be better today than we were yesterday. Because we are at the beginning of our exciting journey we have an opportunity to think a little differently about the developmental opportunities we provide for young people in the North East. The traditional notion that coaching young talented players is exclusively about readying them to become elite professionals is not enough for us – both school and club believe in readying the individual as a learner, athlete and person. It’s a rounded, holistic approach that is about equipping young people with a blend of life skills and qualities that will prepare them for the uncertainty of the future, whether they go on to pursue a professional sporting career or to forge entirely different career paths.”

Mortimer Community College headteacher Simon Hignett: “The club are very much part of the South Shields community and this completely aligns with our standing as a school. This is a fantastic opportunity and we look forward to working with the club as they are very much a team on the march!”