Lee Burch & Nathan Watkins Coaching the Hampshire FA Academy Teams

Hampshire FA Launch New Academy Programme in Partnership with SCL Education and Savvy Accountancy

Hampshire FA’s new full-time education and football development programme for 16-18 year olds, based at Stoneham Lane Football Complex, has commenced

Hampshire FA’s new full-time education and football development programme, the Hampshire FA Football Academy, has officially started, with education delivery support from SCL Education and sponsorship from Savvy Accountancy.

This September 2021, the Hampshire FA Football Academy has officially commenced activities for its inaugural year. The programme has over 30 students (aged 16-18) enrolled, who will all undertake an NCFE Diploma in Sport and Physical Activity while receiving outstanding opportunities to develop their football, all based at Hampshire FA’s bespoke football facility, Stoneham Lane Football Complex in Eastleigh.

Over the 2nd and 3rd September 2021, students were inducted to the programme, getting to know their new home at Stoneham Lane, taking part in their first training sessions, and even participating in a professional-style media day. The commencement of lessons followed soon after, from Monday 6th September 2021.

From an education perspective, Hampshire FA is delighted to be working in partnership with post-16 Further Education provider, SCL Education. With more than 20 years’ experience in developing young people using the power of sport, SCL have seen great success; educating, developing and graduating more than 20,000 learners.

Using their sports-centred learning approach, which is based on the principles of sport, SCL deliver education experiences which unlock potential.

SCL’s network includes over 70 of the most reputable sporting organisations in the country, delivering education and sports development programmes nationwide.

The education programme as part of the Hampshire FA Football Academy is funded by SCL Education and delivered by their team of Tutors who are experts in their field.

Lawrence Blair, Director of Partnerships at SCL said: “We are delighted to have partnered with Hampshire FA to deliver an opportunity to young people within the local community which allows them to unlock their potential and take their next steps towards a career in sport, physical activity or education.

“Our programmes are designed to achieve more than just an academic award. Learners will have the opportunities to live new experiences and gain new skills which will set them on a pathway to their career.”

Running parallel to the academic programme delivered by SCL, Hampshire FA will deliver an outstanding practical experience of the football industry to compliment and enhance the theoretical understanding that students gain from their lessons. Central to this is the provision of top-class coaching and playing opportunities.

As of August 2021, Hampshire FA is pleased to have announced the appointment of new Academy Head Coach, Lee Burch, who will be assisted by Coaching Apprentice, Nathan Watkins, in overseeing the coaching and football development of all students across daily training sessions or match fixtures throughout the week.

Lee Burch is a UEFA A License qualified coach with experience coaching at all levels of the game, from grassroots up to elite performance, with previous roles at clubs including: Southampton FC (Development Programme), AFC Totton, Millwall Lionesses, London Bees, and Yeovil Town Ladies FC.

Discussing his first impressions and aspirations for the academy, Lee Burch said: “I am really looking forward to the upcoming year with the new Hampshire FA Academy. We have created two squads ahead of the season to compete in the Tactic League. The standard has been excellent so far and the players have worked hard to get to know each other on and off the pitch. I am looking forward to working with the players over the season as we develop a culture and start to build a legacy here at Stoneham Lane Football Complex. We are going into the season a little blind being a new programme and playing against other existing and new programmes, but, I am looking for us to progress as a group quickly and develop our style of play over the early weeks.”

Coaching Apprentice, Nathan Watkins, is an aspiring Head Coach working towards his UEFA C and B coaching qualifications. Nathan has graduated from a similar programme, which saw him undertake a Btec Level 3 in Sport. From this experience, as well as his current experience as a developing player for Gosport Borough Under 23’s and Hythe and Dibden FC, he understands the balancing act between students’ football, academic and personal development.

Discussing the new programme, Nathan Watkins said: “This is a great opportunity for our students to develop their footballing ability under a UEFA A license coach, using top class facilities, and playing at a high level throughout the week in training sessions and match fixtures. More than simply providing the chance for students to take their football to a new level, this programme can also help open doors to a wide variety of potential job roles, all while keeping the passion and enjoyment of playing football central to the students’ daily lives.”

Competitive match fixtures are set to commence from Wednesday 22nd and Friday 24th September 2021. Students have been organised into two separate squads: Hampshire FA Academy Red (competing in the Tactic League Division 2) and Hampshire FA Academy Blue (competing in the Tactic League Division 3).

Lee Burch explained, “The primary aim of the programme isn’t necessarily to drive students towards a career playing football professionally. However, we provide them with the highest level of coaching and playing opportunities possible so that they have that platform there to develop their game and give them the best chance of exploring a potential career playing football professionally if that’s what they wish to do.”

Hampshire FA’s Football Development Manager, Chris Smith, explained, “The overall aim of the programme is to ensure that all students graduate with a clear pathway to a career in sport thanks to a broad and in-depth experience of the sports industry in practise alongside their theoretical studies. This stays the same whether their career ambitions are playing professionally or entering other areas of the sports industry, such as officiating, journalism, media, finance, facility management, ground care, physiotherapy, or anything else."

As the governing body for grassroots football in Hampshire, Hampshire FA can provide ample opportunities for students to put their learning into practise. This could be through arranging industry work experience, sourcing volunteering opportunities, providing extra-curricular courses in football coaching or refereeing, or simply giving them the opportunity to take on various projects within the Hampshire FA business itself which covers areas including Marketing, Finance, Football Development, Facility Management, Discipline, Safeguarding and more.

The safety of students and quality of learning remains paramount throughout all activities included in the programme. All coaches and lecturers are appropriately qualified in safeguarding and trained in creating a safe and enjoyable environment where students feel supported. As the programme takes its first steps, Hampshire FA now looks to foster this positive environment as a foundation for students to develop and succeed.

Hampshire FA CEO, Neil Cassar, said, “I am personally delighted that we have now launched the new Hampshire FA Football Academy – a truly unique programme – and the first County FA in the country to do so.   This will create many new and exciting opportunities for young people based at the fantastic Stoneham Lane Football Complex. Congratulations to all students who will be taking this next step towards a career in sport and, on behalf of everyone at Hampshire FA, please accept our best wishes for your personal and career development while you complete your course and further into the future.

“I’d like to extend my thanks to SCL Education for their support of this programme. We look forward to working alongside their industry-leading teaching services to prepare our students for a future career in football or the wider sports industry.

“Thanks also go out to our partners at Savvy Accountancy for their support as Official Hampshire FA Academy Sleeve Sponsor. Savvy’s support of grassroots football over many previous years of partnership has been invaluable. We are grateful for their increased support and thrilled to have them on-board as we begin this exciting new programme. We are very much looking forward to the new season with our highly qualified and talented staff leading the programme”.

Savvy Accountancy Solutions provides world-class accountancy solutions to individuals & businesses. With a wealth of expertise in tax and accounting matters, the firm offer all the services of a traditional accountancy practice but a whole lot more. By using state of the art technology and leveraging cloud-based products Savvy helps provide businesses to function and save money with a modern approach regardless of size.

Savvy is a long-term partner of Hampshire FA, already supporting grassroots football as the sponsor of all Hampshire FA Youth Cup Competitions. Hampshire FA is proud to announce that Savvy Accountancy Solutions has now added to their support by confirming a two-year deal as Official Sleeve Sponsor of the Hampshire FA Football Academy.
Company Director, Steve Yeomans, explained that they saw the academy programme as a natural progression from their existing sponsorship to increase their support of football in the local community: “I think this is a great idea and a great opportunity for the young people involved. We are delighted to be involved via our sponsorship and believe this is a natural extension from our sponsorship of the Hampshire FA Youth Cup competitions.”

You can find out more information about the Hampshire FA Football Academy Programme here: https://www.hampshirefa.com/about/hampshire-fa-football-academy

Or, keep up to date with all activities by following the Hampshire FA Football Academy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AcademyHFA

The application process for the next academic year (starting September 2022) has already begun! Students aged 16-18 can apply now via the SCL Education website here: https://extranet.wearescl.co.uk/ToolkitNew/webenrolment.aspx?page=~/webcontrols/courseapply.ascx&OfferingID=49173