The Imps have launched a new ‘Shadow Scholarship’ at Riseholme College in a bid to give aspiring local young footballers the chance to launch a career in football.
The Imps’ Academy is already based at the college’s Showground Campus, on Lincolnshire Showground, where their Scholars train and take part in studies to continue their education beyond taking their GCSE’s.
Now, the club and the college have teamed up to create the ‘Shadow Scholarship’, so this opportunity can be extended to more local youngsters.
Under the programme, Level 3 Sport students at Riseholme who show the potential to play football at a high level can put the foundations in place for future education opportunities at university, football scholarships in the US and potential careers in professional football.
They play in the premier division after securing category 1 status, which is the highest level of college football, which gives them the chance to impress Lincoln City staff and the potential to train and/or play with their scholars.
There are currently 22 students in the Shadow Scholarship squad, who train on a daily basis and have weekly fixtures. Those that might not make the squad because of injury or selection take on other roles. A key aspect of the programme is that students learn all aspects of the game, so they can see the opportunities that exist within the industry beyond that of being a professional footballer, such as roles within sports science, medical, analysis, recruitment and coaching.
Danny Metters, Assistant Principal at Riseholme College, said: “This innovative partnership with Lincoln City is giving our students a real, genuine opportunity to have a career in football.
“Whilst helping them to achieve their potential as footballers, we are making sure they are equipped with the skills and knowledge they will need to work in the industry in another capacity as well.”
Lincoln City Head of Football, Jez George, concurred “This is a really important partnership for Lincoln City and a really important scheme, shown by the appointment of an Academy member of staff, Richard Belcher, to lead, manage and coach the programme.
“This initiative demonstrates the Club’s commitment to providing opportunities for local youngsters, so that we can ensure appropriate pathways exist for all our Academy players beyond leaving school within Lincoln City. The odds of becoming a professional footballer are so slim, and the competition for scholarship places at Lincoln City is so intense, that we have a responsibility to ensure there are opportunities for all our talented young footballers, and others across Lincolnshire outside our Academy, not just the very few. We care about every single one of them.”
“This scheme allows players to progress their football and education at an appropriate level and opens up as many options for their futures within further education and long-term career opportunities within football.”
“We have several examples of Lincoln City ex-scholars who are now working at the Club, such as Luke Andersen and Kieran Walker. Developing our own staff as well as our own players is a real ambition for the Club. This scheme, and this partnership, is fundamental to this aspiration.”
“We already have a superb working relationship with Riseholme College as the education providers for our scholars taking their BTEC within the LFE programme. Riseholme College is also the base for our Academy and all training provision for our schoolboy players. Therefore, we are delighted that we have been able to extend our partnership to encompass further opportunities for more young players within the Lincoln City family.”
Riseholme specialises in agriculture, animal management, engineering and equine but also runs courses in many other subjects, including business, food and public services, as well as sport.
For more information, or to apply for a course, visit www.riseholme.ac.uk.