A South Shields FC academy player is set to continue his dream of becoming a professional footballer – thanks to the help of the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust.
Josh Elcoate, 18, has been given a bursary by the Trust, which aims to support youngsters to achieve their dreams through sport and performance.
The bursary will allow Josh to extend his stay in the academy into a third year, while he will also be supported through the next stage of his coaching qualifications and will assist with SSFC Foundation’s school delivery programme.
Josh, a central midfielder, has made a huge impression during his two years at Mariners Park, both on and off the pitch.
He regularly coaches at the club’s holiday camps and has worked with one of the Mariners’ Under-13s teams.
He is excited about the prospect of continuing his development with Shields, both as a player and a coach.
Josh, who travels to South Shields every day from his home in Stokesley, North Yorkshire, said: “The bursary means I’ll be playing football alongside having a coaching role at the club next season, which I’m very excited about.
“I’m sure I’ll learn a lot and I’m really looking forward to it.
“My coaching has taken a massive role in my life and I’m enjoying a lot.
“It’s all funded through the Trust, and I really appreciate what they have done for me.
“It’s brilliant that money is going into young people achieving their dreams, and that’s what they’re allowing me to do.
“Hopefully I will be able to repay them by having a positive impact on other young people’s lives through the work I’ll be doing in schools and through coaching.”
Josh will work alongside coaches including SSFC Foundation programme delivery lead Nathan Kew in schools across South Tyneside during the 2019-20 season.
Steve Camm, Head of SSFC Foundation, said: “We are delighted to have Josh on board.
“He is a fantastic ambassador for the Foundation and the club.
“He has been brilliant in supporting the delivery of a number of holiday courses and worked with one of our Under-13 teams in the past.
“We are excited about the prospect of being able to work with him more. It’s great for the Foundation and our young players.
“As an academy player, Josh is a fantastic role model for our Foundation players.”
The Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust was set up following the tragic deaths of young South Shields couple Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry in a terrorist attack at Manchester Arena in May 2017.
The Trust has supported scores of youngsters since being founded, with the families of Chloe and Liam aiming to honour the teenagers through what they loved most and inspire others to follow their dreams.
It has assisted people with auditions, exams, travel expenses and more, and has helped a number of coaches at South Shields FC through their coaching qualifications.
Mr Camm added: “We are proud to be associated with the Together Forever Trust.
“It has previously invested in supporting a number of FA qualifications for our volunteer coaches for which we are grateful.
“This latest investment is a real opportunity for us, through Josh, to continue to make our small contribution to the very big legacy being created by the Trust for young people.”