A CITY sports and study scheme has just enjoyed a stellar season.

Heart of Worcestershire (HoW) College’s Football Academy has been successfully producing footballers for more than 20 years.

HoW Academy, as it is now called, has performed extremely well this season, winning a first AoC College Leagues title in four years having narrowly missed out last year.

The team has only lost one league fixture in 2023-24 with trials coming up for potential students next week.

Academy manager Matt Clements said: “We have been so happy with the lads this season.

“Our group has worked hard both on the pitch and in the classroom and we are starting to see a lot of positive signs for the future.

“Several of the boys are now playing semi-professional football away from the academy and most of our players have had successful seasons with their parent clubs.

“Next season we are aiming to improve further as our numbers expand and continue to offer our players a quality football training programme.

“This will be supported by the addition of the new 4G surface at Perdiswell Leisure Centre.”

Established in 2001 as Worcester City Football Club Academy, it has developed players who have progressed into the amateur leagues, semi-professional and professional game.

HoW Academy supports the work of the area’s clubs and many graduates have gone on to represent these teams in recent years.

The number of former HoW Academy players representing semi-professional clubs is substantial.

They include Dylan Hart, Kyonn Evans, Cameron Monteith (Worcester City), Ben Tilbury (Stourport Swifts), Ryan Woollacott (Redditch United), Curtis Townley (Worcester Raiders), Bailey Fuller (Studley), Brad Birch (former Halesowen Town), Dave Reynolds (former Malvern Town and Worcester City), James Lemon, Luke Molloy, Charlie Tilley, Cory Rudd, Jack Brighton, Lucas Edmonds (Droitwich Spa) and Jack Davies (Pershore Town).

Some of the academy’s most recognised former players include Sam Wedgbury (Sheffield United) and Dan Scarr (Birmingham City, Wycombe Wanders and now Plymouth Argyle) who have both played professionally.

Its aim is to develop all players and to use football as a tool to improve the students as individuals by giving them the opportunity to complete industry-standard qualifications, access high-quality teaching and use top-class facilities.

The academy strives to support the transition of players from youth football into under 21s football or the adult men’s game.

It offers the chance for individuals to develop their football skills and progress through a nationally-recognised qualification.

The training programme aims to mirror elite professional academies.

Players train three times per week with games in the AoC College Leagues on Wednesday afternoons and the AoC National Colleges Cup.

Activities include pitch-based technical and tactical training, small-sided games and strength and conditioning sessions at Perdiswell’s fully-equipped gym and studios.

Performance analysis, pre-activation, warm-up and injury prevention sessions enhance player development alongside fitness testing using various methods.

The programme offers insights into career paths within football and sport, utilising the wide range of activities for a holistic learning experience.

HoW Academy will run trials on Tuesday, May 28 from 10am until 12 noon at Perdiswell aimed at current year 11 students for courses starting in September 2024.

The following trials in October half-term will be for students wishing to attend in September 2025.

For more information, email Mr Clements at mclements@howcollege.ac.uk.