Ian McGuckin, Ethan Wood, Jonathan Constantine and Ian Clark at the Suit Direct Stadium with new recruits Kian Brooksbank, Blaine Garthwaite, Finlay Foster, Kingston Butler, Bobby Constantine, Joe Purvis, Fin Bates, Kai Facchini, Jacob Watson, Xander McKimmie and Harry Lake. Pictures: Hartlepool College/Frank Reid
The latest cohort of talented footballers to join a Hartlepool United youth programme in partnership with a local college has been announced.
The first 11 new faces have their places assured and Hartlepool College of Further Education is close to adding a further four to a group that will form part of a development squad from September. Interested candidates can also still apply.
Kian Brooksbank, Blaine Garthwaite, Finlay Foster, Kingston Butler, Bobby Constantine, Joe Purvis, Fin Bates, Kai Facchini, Jacob Watson, Xander McKimmie and Harry Lake signed forms and posed for photographs at the Suit Direct Stadium.
They are all from Hartlepool and the surrounding area and have the potential to improve further while enrolled on the excellent Under-19s programme laid on by the College in partnership with Pools’ U19s.
Shaun Hope, Hartlepool College’s assistant principal, said: “Our partnership with Hartlepool United continues to grow from strength to strength.
“It was great to see the recent announcement that the club’s academy will continue this year despite the club dropping into the National League. We will be there supporting the scholars at the club by giving them the educational experience to succeed.
“We also have a programme in place where other aspiring footballers can come and study at the College and get the opportunity to train and play with the youth team throughout the season.
“We have seen the next cohort of those join the programme and we are really excited to start to work with them.”
The initial 15-strong total of new recruits will play in the National Alliance League and wear Hartlepool United clothing, and the opportunity is there for them to step up to join the Pools Under-18s squad if they warrant that call-up.
Charlie Rowe, Toby Crawford and Oscar Fletcher are among those to have played in the FA Youth Cup in the past from the programme, while crucially they can study in an environment that will provide them with the right education too.
Ian McGuckin, Hartlepool’s lead professional development phase Under-18s coach, said: “This is not just about creating a pathway to Hartlepool’s first team, which it does, it also provides various other pathways into semi-professional football, jobs within the industry or elsewhere. We tie in the football ability across their academic abilities to ensure they shine.”
McGuckin and the club’s Jonathan Constantine, head of academy recruitment, along with Hartlepool College’s head coach, Ethan Wood, will be responsible for developing the players on the football pitch. Former Hartlepool winger Ian Clark will ensure progress is made in the classroom.
Clark, head of high performance sport, said: “This is a great opportunity where these players will come in and receive a full education of their choice and link with a club. They will train 14 hours a week, playing national league youth football, in a professional environment while gaining a fantastic education.
“We want to make sure they have the right qualifications to move on to the next level regardless of what happens in the football.
“The club already has 18 scholars, so these are who we believe to be the next best available in a football sense and there are lads who are late developers, so who knows what the future holds.
“Crucially, we are making them all better people as well as better footballers. It is about their journey and providing them with the right tools to get to that next stage of their lives.
“As examples, Charlie Rowe not only played in the youth team he has now gone on to secure a four-year apprenticeship, while Toby Crawford is heading to Stirling University and Oscar Fletcher has played for England Schoolboys Under-18s.”
For further information on how to apply for the programme get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
Our partnership with Hartlepool United continues to grow from strength to strength.
-Shaun Hope, Hartlepool College’s assistant principal