South Shields Football Club is pleased to announce its thriving Academy structure has been extended to Foundation phase teams.

In an exciting development for talented young players in the North East, new Under-9s, Under-10s and Under-11s sides will be added to the club’s set-up as the pathway from Academy to first-team football is further strengthened.

The groups will be led by Foundation phase lead Nathan Kew, a hugely-respected UEFA B Licence coach who also leads the delivery of SSFC Foundation’s programmes in schools and the community.

Players will train two evenings a week under the tutelage of highly-qualified coaches, play league matches on Sundays and be involved in national-based tournaments and matches, with access to strength and conditioning coaching to further aid their progress.

Kew said: “This is a very exciting step for the Academy as we ready ourselves to welcome more of the brightest young footballers in the region into our set-up.

“I’m very grateful to have been awarded the opportunity and trust to develop this exciting addition to the Academy and to have been given a blank canvas to create the best possible Academy experience for young players.

“It promises to be among the best Foundation phase programmes available for talented players, who we can promise a high level of coaching detail, a strong games programme and access to top facilities.

“As the club continues to grow, this is an extremely exciting time for players to join the Academy and be part of our ongoing progress.

“The vision is for them to advance all the way to the first-team in their time at the club and to take advantage of the genuine pathway to professional football which exists here.”

The Foundation phase teams will regularly participate in tournaments and come up against Academy sides from across the UK.

Trials for those who will be eligible for Under-9s, Under-10s and Under-11s teams in the 2022-23 season are to be held in the coming weeks.

The trials for all age groups will take place on Wednesday, June 1st between 4pm and 7pm at 1st Cloud Arena.

Anyone whose child is interested in attending one of the trial dates, or who would like further information, is asked to contact Nathan Kew via email at nathan.kew@southshieldsfc.co.uk.

From the football pitch to the dancefloor, the ever-growing SSFC Foundation continues to make strives as it aims to increase its impact on the community.

The Foundation held its inaugural dance festival at Mariners Park on Friday, June 28.

The festival came after the Foundation broadened its offering to much of the schools it works with, incorporating dance alongside its existing Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education delivery.

There was also a cultural element to the dance programme – led by coach Karen McKenzie – with children also learning about the heritage of countries where particular dances originated.

It culminated in a showcase at Mariners Park featuring pupils from Sea View Primary School, St Bede’s Primary School and Plains Farm Academy, who performed dances synonymous with the United States of America, France and India.

SSFC Foundation Programme Delivery Lead Nathan Kew said: “It was an absolutely fantastic day and certainly one of the best we’ve had since I’ve been here.

“The reaction we had from parents and teachers was brilliant, and the children seemed to love every minute of it.

“We are interested in anything that puts smiles on faces, and the reaction to the dance programme has shown us that we’ve done the right thing embracing it.

“The more we can offer this community, the better chance this community has of becoming better people and creating better people through the children that we work with.

“That’s what it’s all about.

“We want to have a large, positive impact on our community and working with the schools around us is a good way of doing that.”

Karen McKenzie worked with the children in their schools in the lead-up to the dance festival.

She then led the festival assisted by Nathan, Head of SSFC Foundation Steve Camm and SSFC Foundation apprentice Zak Turner-Cooke.

She said: “First of all, it was just about building their confidence up.

“I like to see the children grow from not necessarily wanting to do anything to hearing the music and building their confidence.

“It’s a nice team building thing as well, so they all encourage each other, which is what I like seeing the most.

“The festival went amazingly well.

“The atmosphere was buzzing and the children worked their socks off for it.

“They thoroughly enjoyed it and relished learning the different aspects of the dances.”

SSFC Foundation’s main activity partner is the Port of Tyne, which is providing financial support for a diverse activity programme that will benefit local people of all ages, with a focus on boosting health and well-being in the area.

South Shields captain Jon Shaw swapped the pitch for the classroom as he starred in a South Tyneside school’s World Book Day celebrations.

Shaw read four books to reception class pupils at Monkton Infants School, in Simonside, South Shields, as he showed he is as adept with a book in his hands as with a ball at his feet.

The 35-year-old was joined by SSFC Foundation programme delivery lead Nathan Kew as they kept the children entertained through the power of reading.

Peppa Pig and The Paper Bag Princess were among the books Shaw read to the children as part of the initiative, which aims to promote reading among youngsters.

Shaw, who is a dad-of-two, said: “It’s a really important cause, and something I know a lot about with having two small children myself.

“Everybody should be reading to their children, and you hope that those we engaged with at Monkton will go home having enjoyed listening to someone read, and will ask their parents to do the same.

“From a club point of view, it’s fantastic because the children will hopefully go home and talk about South Shields.

“It shows another side to our club.

“We pride ourselves on being a family-oriented, community club and if we weren’t willing to go and do things like this, we wouldn’t be standing by what we believe in.”

The club and its foundation have visited schools across South Tyneside over recent months as part of several initiatives.

Kew is delivering a number of programmes in schools and nurseries, mainly centered around PE but with cross-curricular links too.

On the visit to Monkton, he said: “It was a really good morning for the children and ourselves.

“The initiatives that have arisen over the last three to five years are brilliant, because they show literacy as a fun, engaging subject which can be seen in a different light, particularly within Key Stage One.

“It’s important that we push that because it’s the development of the children in our area, which is only going to make better people and a better community.

“Our brand within the area is quite big because of how well the club is doing at the moment.

“It’s good that we use that to promote literacy, and we’re not hiding that’s what we’re doing sometimes in PE.

“We’re trying to create strong cross-curricular links to create better children and a better future for them through the power of sport.”

Click here for full details about the Foundation’s programmes across South Tyneside – including information on how your child can get involved.