In partnership with Cambridge Regional College, Cambridge United Youth and Community Trust run a Shadow Scholarship Scheme.
The Scheme is a two year National Diploma and a Football Development Scheme. The players train 2-3 times a week and compete every Wednesday in the British College League.
We have two teams, selected from squads of 16 players, and both teams have made a very encouraging start to the league, winning all their games. The scheme is designed to help students develop as footballers and for those who impress, there is a opportunity to train with our scholars.
A number of scouts come to watch our players to see if they have the necessary attributes for a University Scholarship in America. Our unique partnership also allows the students to gain coaching experience within the Youth & Community Trust, as well as work experience with our Sports Science Department. Our players are given the opportunity to gain qualifications for degree courses to enable them to pursue employment in PE Teaching, Physio, Sports Science, Coaching and Fitness Instructing.
We have access to fantastic training facilities at Kings & Selwyn College and we are very grateful to their ground staff, Mark Reader and Ian Rush, for the way in which we are looked after.
Cambridge United Academy Coaches, Jake Hammond and Gary Marheineke, take the training sessions and matches, liaising with Mark Bonner, our Youth Team Coach, regarding the progress of the players. They are well supported by Neil Andrews, a tutor at CRC and a highly regarded ex-player in the Football Conference and member of our coaching staff within the Regional Development Centres. Tom Hall is the course tutor for all the players and deals with all administration and the academic progress of each individual, whilst Kate Da Costa and Rob Metcalfe head up the Sport Department at CRC, giving the scheme fantastic support.
Director of Football Jez George was unequivocal in his praise for CRC saying: “We have a brilliant relationship with Cambridge Regional College. Over the last 8 years, since the youth scheme re-formed in May 2006, they have supported our scholarship programme and done more than any other organisation to assist the development of young players at Cambridge United. Without their backing the likes of Josh Coulson, Luke Berry and Liam Hughes would not be currently in our first team and scores of other young players would not have been given the opportunity of a two year scholarship. James Akintunde was the last scholar to make a first team debut, making that 18 graduates of the scheme in this period of time. The relationship has never been stronger and with the introduction of this extra development tier for two shadow squads, it now means that 50 youngsters benefit from a combined education and football scheme, through our partnership every year. We hope to work with CRC for many years to come and continue to grow the number of opportunities for local youngsters.”