25th September 2023
South Devon College is pleased to welcome a new Head Coach to its Pro:Direct Academy.
Kev Wills is an experienced and talented coach who is joining the ranks of coaching staff at the college’s dedicated football course, Pro:Direct Academy.
Football has always featured heavily in Kev’s life – he played professionally for both Plymouth Argyle and Torquay United from the ages of 13 to 23, before moving into non-league clubs.
He spent two years working as Lifeskills Mentor at the College, which he found ‘very rewarding’, alongside some football coaching within the College, before starting his new role as Pro:Direct Head Coach in September, where he is working alongside a team of five coaches on the Academy course.
“Due to my previous football career, I have been on the same pathway as our students, and can relate to their passion and the journey they are embarking on,” he said.
“The students have access to amazing facilities at the College, including the well-equipped recently-refurbished gym – the environment we create as one ‘big family’ helps students to hone their skills on the pitch whilst staying on track academically.”
The Academy teams play in a games programme – the Post 16 11-a-side team plays in the Association of Colleges (AoC) Elite Premier Division, with matches across the South West and Wales. The Academy has the accolade of reaching the national finals of the ECFA Premier Cup, representing the best of college football, for the last two years running.
As well as his College coaching role, Kev is also the Under 18s Manager for Torquay United FC, so will be sharing best practices from club to Academy, and forging further collaboration between the two.
The College already has close links with Torquay United as it is the front-of-shirt sponsor of United’s kits for the club’s 2023/2024 home strip.
The Pro:Direct Academy is a detailed football development BTEC programme, covering sports science, training, fitness and coaching related to the game, developed by Qualified UEFA and FA licensed coaches.
There are three Academy teams at South Devon College – two High School teams in Years 10 and 11, and a Post 16 programme, for ages 16-19, that has over 65 players this year.
The students train on the College’s 3G pitch, with matches every Wednesday.
The Academy has just started a girls programme, inspired by the recent success of the Lionesses in the Euros and World Cup, with big plans to build the girls teams for the future.
The Academy coaching staff, like Kev, are made up of industry professionals and pro players with one clear goal – for players to play, compete and study full-time at South Devon College to develop their skills both on and off the pitch.
“I am looking forward to working with the coaching team, giving something back, and sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport, to help the students reach their potential,” said Kev.
“I have so much knowledge to share, and I am excited to be a consistent role model within the whole team.”
If you’re a keen footballer and would like Kev and the rest of the team to help you take your skills to a new level, contact the College Helpzone team on 08000 380 123, or email [email protected].
To find out more about the Pro:Direct Academy at South Devon College, visit southdevon.ac.uk.