Harry Darling offered Full-time Scholarship with Cambridge United Academy
The Cambridge United Shadow Scholarship Scheme delivered in partnership with Cambridge Regional College continues to go from strength to strength, with 16-year old Harry Darling being offered a full-time scholarship with the club's academy.
Harry enrolled onto the shadow scholarship scheme to support his footballing development having previously been involved with the academy as an Under 13 & Under 14 player. The scheme has allowed him to re-enter the Cambridge United academy system at youth team level, as a more well-rounded and matured individual, therefore providing the perfect foundation from which he could excel.
The Shadow Scholars programme gives 16 students each year the opportunity to compete in the British National Colleges League on a weekly basis, partake in six hours of weekly training with Cambridge United, as well as studying towards a BTEC National qualification in Sports Studies.
The academic aspect to the scholarship is coursework based and delivered in conjunction with Cambridge Regional College, who are opening up further opportunities for shadow scholars outside of Football, including University or employment within the sports industry such as coaching or personal training.
Previous to the most recent success, the scheme has also led to a plethora of coaching opportunities at the club, with no less than ten student coaches currently working within the Cambridge United Youth Development Scheme.
Jake Hammond, who heads up the scholarship programme and academy recruitment, was pleased that Harry Darling’s achievement marked another success for the club's development pathway.
He said: “The aim in terms of the football side of the scholarship is to get players to progress to the highest possible level.
“Harry’s story is a good example of how the scheme can help develop and nurture a player’s abilities, as he was been able to learn and grow into his age group.
“However, this is just one of a number success stories as the scheme also has a great history of players going on to study at university and gaining employment, and what is even more pleasing, working within the youth programme at Cambridge United.
“Students Ben Goddard and Charlie Woolfe are currently working at the club’s Regional Development Centres and Soccer Schools, whilst Charlie Brown works full time delivering a number of the club’s community programmes having completed the course.
“The partnership with Cambridge Regional College is continually developing, we already have a Futsal programme this year, and the relationship can grow even further going forwards.”
Meanwhile Cambridge Regional College, Faculty Head at CRC Kate De Costa added: "At Cambridge Regional College we are delighted with the progress that the scheme has already made as marked most recently by Harry Darling's individual achievement.
“We have a longstanding and incredibly successful partnership with Cambridge United which has evolved to ensure the best in both education and football regardless of the achievement or league status of the first team.
"We feel that the scheme is a great example of how football and education can combine to open up doors to participants, whether that is within football in Harry's case, the chance to go to University or by opening up wider opportunities for employment or entrepreneurship in the sports industry.
"The educational values that the scheme offers, through CRC and Cambridge United, are an equally important aspect when working towards developing hard working, multi-skilled and talented citizens for initially the city of Cambridge, but no doubt much further beyond as these learners realise their potential."