2nd May 2023
South Devon College’s Pro:Direct Academy 1st team has made it through to the final of the English College FA (ECFA) National Premier Cup. After winning last year the team hopes to be victorious once more.
“Thanks to investments from the Premier League and FA, we now have a state of the art sports centre and a 3G pitch,” said Daniel Gaze, Head of Curriculum for Sports at South Devon College. ” These coupled with a slew of fantastic professional footballers who have coached our young people and raised our students’ aspirations have resulted in us really turning things around.
“And we’ve beaten teams that are from really, really strong traditional sports colleges. I’m immensely proud of all the players, coaches and staff.”
The team will be playing in the final on 9th May at Crewe Alexandra Stadium against Coleg Cambria.
18 year old George Collins who is studying a BTEC in Sports Science at South Devon College is playing again this year. The centre mid- fielder says he’s played football all of his life but joining the Pro:Direct Academy team was the best decision he made.
“It’s made me a better player and a better person and I can’t recommend it enough,” said George, who is off to America in August to start a four year scholarship programme to study a sports science degree and play football. “
“It’s very similar to what we’re doing here but obviously at university level and the next step up and over in America their footballing standards are quite different. Their college sport is almost as big as their professional sport.”
It was the Pro:Direct Academy head coach, former professional footballer, Ryan Dickson who helped George achieve his next step and is hoping the 1st team will win the ECFA National Premier Cup again next week.
“What they’ve achieved this year is amazing. Getting this far is a wonderful achievement,” said Ryan, who took over as head coach last September and has played for many football clubs including Plymouth Argyle, Southampton F.C and Torquay United.
“There’s no pressure, everything is in place. It’s the culture and mentality that makes a winning team,” explains Ryan. “It’s building on the relationships that makes them into a team, building good habits and bringing them together.”
Everyone at South Devon College is hoping the team will go the distance and bring the cup back to Devon.
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