It’s all kicking off at Crusaders FC with Belfast Met

Belfast Met and Crusaders Football Club have announced a new collaborative partnership with exciting plans for a Crusaders Football Academy to commence in September 2022.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 5:16 pm
Updated Friday, 9th July 2021, 5:18 pm

The new Crusaders Football Academy is a welcome, innovative addition to Belfast Met’s existing well established Football Academy which continues to deliver a high quality, three A Level equivalent Sport programme alongside High Performance football coaching and an IFA coach education programme.

The Belfast Met Football academy, which will kick off again in September 2021, has been leading the way in education and skills through football for 11 years and was the first full time football academy in Ireland.

The new partnership hopes to develop what will be a new and ground-breaking education and skills offer for aspiring footballers.

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Representatives pictured at the launch of the new partnership
Representatives pictured at the launch of the new partnership

The academy will combine their skills on the pitch with their studies, in the heart of the city.

The first of its kind Crusaders Football Academy at Seaview will combine a professional football training programme with an accredited qualification, giving skilled players a unique opportunity to develop both on and off the field.

Commenting on the new partnership and initiative, Louise Warde Hunter Principal and Chief Executive of Belfast Metropolitan College said: “We are delighted to be entering into a collaborative relationship with Crusaders FC to deliver a Crusaders/Belfast Met Football Academy.

"This welcome and unique opportunity provides learners with multiple qualification and progression pathways through a relevant education and skills offer as well as a flexible delivery model.”

Sharon Rivers Head of School for Health, Wellbeing at Belfast Metropolitan College said: “This is the right time for this partnership. The collaboration between Belfast Met and Crusaders Football Club will make achievable very exciting possibilities to jointly develop excellent and unique sporting and academic opportunities for our young people and the wider community.

"We look forward to developing this new project in partnership”.

Mark Langhammer, Vice Chair at Crusaders FC, said ”Belfast Met’s football academy will be a welcome addition to the range of community and educational activity at Seaview.

“In time, we hope that the College will boost the range of its ‘Access’ curriculum at Seaview to enable young people to move on to full and part time education at its Campus sites which include Titanic and Millfield.

"This strategic alliance fits in with the football club’s strategy and open the door to a range of educational programmes in the North of the City.”

Nathan Hanley, Head of Youth at Crusaders, added: “We are delighted to be working with Belfast Metropolitan College as our education partner with our new Football Academy.

“The partnership allows Crusaders to offer our young elite footballers the opportunity to train and prepare in a full-time professional environment using our state of art facilities at the Stadium which includes the McDonald Centre’s educational space, multi-purpose gym and onsite catering facilities.

“The last Academy graduate from Crusaders was Gavin Whyte, who now plays professional football at Cardiff City, and this strategic alliance will open doors for others who have similar aspirations.”

Over the next year Crusaders Football Club and Belfast Met will be building a strong partnership and planning their exciting new Crusaders Academy to put young footballers and the local community at the heart of an exciting new education and skills opportunity, giving skilled players a unique opportunity to develop both on and off the field! Belfast Met Football Academy is currently recruiting again for September 2021 and is open for applications.

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