31 May 2017
Foundation of Light’s Sunderland Football Scholars capped off an amazing debut season by securing a trophy double after being crowned NFYL Midlands/North Division champions.
The Scholars had already lifted the NFYL Trophy in dramatic fashion at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday (24th May 2017) with forward Jak Hanson scoring the winning goal deep into extra-time.
And with victory against Coventry City (Hen) moving the young Black Cats five points clear of second placed Liverpool at the top of the league, Scholarship Manager Martin Jones’ side have wrapped up their first title with one game to spare.
“I’m ecstatic for the lads and all our staff,” said Martin. “We told them before the season started they were good enough to win the league, they just had to believe it.
“It’s been a fantastic journey for us all, considering this is their first year and the fact they’ve faced a lot of good sides who have older and more experienced players.
“The Scholars have worked extremely hard both on the pitch and with their studies and we are so proud of them.”
The pioneering Football Scholarship scheme is run in partnership with Foundation of Light, South Tyneside College and Monkwearmouth Sixth Form College and has exceeded all expectations in its first year, with learners based at Shildon also achieving a top four finish in the Midlands/North League.
Launched in September 2016, the programme mixes opportunities to represent Sunderland AFC while delivering nationally recognised academic qualifications.
Alison Maynard, Principal of South Tyneside College’s Professional and Vocational College, added: “Winning the league and cup double in their first season is as an exceptional achievement and one that will be long remembered.
It has been achieved by the players through their skill and ambition to succeed on the pitch, and by the tremendously strong and effective professional support they have received on their sports programme from the three partner organisations.
By working together, we have created a dynamic environment that has encouraged and facilitated these talented young people to excel and to experience a season of their dreams.
“The combination of academic and sports provision at Monkwearmouth Sixth Form College is the most successful of its type in the North East – just like the players, it’s in a league of its own.”
Steve Wilkinson, Executive Headteacher at Monkwearmouth Academy, added: “This team has performed at a very high level all season, working hard at all times and thoroughly deserving this success.
“I’m delighted for them and for everyone involved in our sports academy programme which, in only its first year, has proven to be a hugely important and valuable addition to sporting opportunity in the North East.”
The Football Scholarship is recruiting for both boys’ and girls’ teams starting September 2017 which will be offering A Level and AS Level study alongside BTEC qualifications.
School leavers who are interested in joining the programme can email Kayleigh Coates firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0191 5515077.