LIVERSEDGE Football Club and Bradford Academy have partnered up to launch the Liversedge FC Academy, which will offer 16 to 18-year-olds football development alongside education from this September.

PE teacher Warren Clarke, who is responsible for the Sporting Elite Academy, said the academy is a “huge step forward for new and existing students”.

He added: “We are looking forward to working with Liversedge FC. Rimmo (manager Jonathan Rimmington) and (assistant manager) Pav Singh were like a breath of fresh air with their ideas and we just hit it off straight away.

“It’s also great hosting the first team here, who are flying in the Northern Premier League East Division.

“The whole place now has an aura about it and that’s what we are striving to do here at Bradford Academy.”

The Liversedge management team of Rimmington and Singh have worked tirelessly alongside Bradford Academy's Clarke and the school's Head of PE Kirsty Matthews to engineer the programme.

Students will be offered 12 hours of football a week alongside study for a BTEC Level 3 in the first year, with further options and qualifications as the programme evolves.

This will give students the chance to develop towards a senior career in football, as well as having the chance for work or further study alongside the sport.

On the programme, Rimmington said: “It’s not a great statistic that less than one per cent of kids in professional football academies make it to the pro game.

“We want players to fulfil their potential with top coaching alongside education.

“This programme is a huge step forward, not just for our club or the college, but for young players in the region.

“It doesn’t shut the door on football as a career. Players in the programme will get 12 hours of football a week, trained by UEFA A and B licensed coaches on the great facilities at Bradford Academy.

“But where this programme stands out is that it offers an alternative to football.

“We will prepare young players for a life outside the game as well as opportunities in the Under-23s and semi-pro game, including the chance of progressing into our first team at Liversedge.”

Singh, who also works for the Football Association as the FA regional coach developer in the North East, said it creates employment opportunities for up and coming coaches in the district.

He added: “It is great to have healthy competition in the area and provide young people with inspirational opportunities to become well rounded and humble people first as well as good footballers.

“Education is key.”

Students can now register their interest for the academy’s first year, which will launch in September 2022 alongside a BTEC Level 3 course, with plans to expand into more programmes over the coming years.