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Soccer Programme Giving Student Athletes Chance To Develop Skills Alongside Studies

Leeds Beckett University (LBU) has launched a football programme in partnership with Leeds United which will see student athletes receive Premier League-style coaching while studying for a degree. 

The Carnegie International Soccer Academy aims to give student athletes the opportunity to continue playing sport while also increasing their employability within the industry. 

© Justin Slee

Students will experience world-class training from a team of Leeds United coaches including former player and Nigerian international Enoch Showunmi, who is also the programme’s head of recruitment. 

The programme is largely targeted towards recruiting student athletes from the USA although the academy is open to all nationalities. 

© Justin Slee

A promise of 15 hours of football activity a week includes training and competitive games against other academies as well as the chance to take part in BUCS – the equivalent of the NCAA in the USA.

Education is at the heart of the experience and high-performance coaching will run alongside studying towards either an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at LBU. 

All teaching and learning will be housed and delivered at city campus as well as within the new state-of-the-art £45m Carnegie School of Sport building based at Headingley Campus. 

The academy – which runs men’s and women’s teams – offers a range of Bachelors and Masters degrees across business and sports, making sure that students graduate with greater opportunities on and off the soccer field. 

There are also plans to develop a multi-disciplinary sport degree which means students would be well placed to gain employment within sport such as working at professional club foundations. 

Pete Mackreth, Dean of the Carnegie School of Sport at LBU, said: 

“We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Leeds United to provide this unique opportunity for international students. 

“As an institution with a strong international reputation and heritage in sport and physical education, this programme will give students the opportunity to earn a degree that will prepare them for the next stage of their career. Alongside this, students’ experience will be enhanced by accessing high performance coaching from Leeds United coaches. 

“With the programme based at our Headingley Campus, students will be joining a sporting community, providing the perfect environment for their development in both the classroom and on the field.”

Enoch Showunmi, Head of Recruitment for the Carnegie International Soccer Academy, said: 

“My career showed me how important education was before, during and after playing football. It is important that these opportunities are available to student athletes, so they are able to pursue both elements. This programme provides that and more. 

“It is about developing the whole player both on and off the field while giving them a taste of the type of training that elite players go through. 

“The long-term opportunities are endless for where this programme will go for all involved, developing elite-level elements to the football journey for staff and students alike. 

“This will develop into the go-to programme for international student athletes wanting to experience the game in the home of football.”

Recruitment has now started for the first cohort of male and female student athletes who will start the programme in September 2021. 

For more information, visit www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/cisa

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