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Scholar Jackson named in England squad

Foundation of Light’s Football Scholars continue to make their mark on the international stage after forward Cieran Jackson was selected for England Under 18 Schoolboys for the upcoming Centenary Shield.

The Shildon Scholars youngster, 17, who has also made three appearances for Shildon AFC this season, travelled to Lilleshall National Sports Centre last week for the final round of trials alongside 31 hopefuls from across the country.

Cieran’s performances against teams from the RAF and Royal Navy as well as his eagerness to learn and develop in the post-match reviews and training sessions earned him a place in the Three Lions’ squad for the remainder of the season.

I was so happy when I found out I’d been selected as my hard work had paid off. The standard at the trials was really high as they included the best players still in education and had been cut down from previous rounds, so it was really competitive.

I am looking forward to the games to test myself against the best players and hopefully win the Centenary Shield.

Ciaran Jackson, Foundation scholar

Cieran will join up with his teammates for a training camp next month before reigning champions England take on Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the annual tournament which kicks off in March.

Shildon Scholars coach, Alan Young, added. “For Cieran to be given this opportunity is a proud moment for myself and the Scholarship programme.

“He came to us a good footballer but had never really been given an opportunity to thrive. When we first met him, he spoke about his desire to make a career out of football and to become the best he could be at the sport he loved.

“Cieran has worked tirelessly throughout the past 18 months to become the player he is today. He has a wonderful ability to beat a player in a 1v1 situation, is comfortable on the ball and has played a key role in the team’s success.”

An integral part of the Shildon Scholars side, Cieran has also appeared for Shildon AFC this season and praised the Football Scholarship and Foundation staff for helping him progress as a player since joining the programme.

“The Scholarship has helped me a lot as they have allowed me to develop the way I play over the last year and a half and I might not have got this opportunity without them.

“My coach Alan has really helped me by allowing me to play to my strengths, improve my weaknesses to help myself and the team.”

The Foundation of Light’s two-year Football Scholarship gives players the chance to represent Sunderland AFC in a national league whilst working towards nationally recognised qualifications that can see players progress into higher education.

The programme is run in partnership with South Tyneside College, Monkwearmouth Academy and Hermitage Academy, and sponsored by ABCO ltd.

The Football Scholarship is now recruiting for the 2018-19 season. To find our more, call 0191 5515191 or email info@foundationoflight.co.uk.

16 January 2018

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