Essex scores exciting new partnership with AFC Sudbury

  • Date

    Thu 16 Sep 21

Pedro Bruno and Luke Mallett

The University of Essex Football Programme and the AFC Sudbury Football Academy are launching a new partnership which will support the development of outstanding young athletes and foster further links.

This is the first development partnership between the University and a local football club and will allow male and female athletes from the AFC Sudbury Football Academy to pursue their desired academic subject at the University of Essex and have the advantage of continuing their playing careers at a higher university level.

The students recruited for the University of Essex’s football programme will also have a recognised pathway into senior Men’s and Women’s Football at AFC Sudbury thanks to the close working partnership between both student-athlete performance development programmes.

The first students to join the University through the new partnership are Phoebe Guiver who joins the Female Focus Team and will study physiotherapy and Rauf Kabangu who joins the Male Focus Team and will study sport and exercise science.

AFC Sudbury Academy Director, Danny Laws, highlighted the importance of such partnerships and praised the University of Essex’s vision for sport.

He said: “The University of Essex has a fantastic academic and sporting reputation, and it is an honour for our academy to be a selected partner. We’ve had, in the past, a few players leaving AFC Sudbury to progress into a degree with Essex, but now we expect many more to come."

University of Essex Head Coach, Pedro Bruno, believes this is a big step forwards for student-athlete development in the region and an enormous privilege being associated with a club with such a strong reputation for athlete development

He said: “I cannot express how happy we are at Essex to confirm this partnership and start working together to benefit the student-athletes’ at both institutions. At Essex we provide a fantastic platform for students to achieve their academic qualifications as well as keep progressing with their sporting careers. Being linked with AFC Sudbury will reinforce our capacity to recruit more student athletes for our football programme while offering them a high level of academic provision across a variety of fields.’

The partnership is not just based around the pathways for footballers but also many other opportunities. Students at Essex studying on other courses will have strong links with AFC Sudbury to undertake work placements in a variety of different fields including sports science, sports therapy, performance analysis, sports coaching, sports psychology, marketing, advertising, and many more courses.

The partnership between the University of Essex and AFC Sudbury will build on the success of AFC Sudbury’s football and education post-16 scheme. The scheme’s 'player performance pathway' is unique in the country with players taught together, coached together and playing together.

All AFC Sudbury coaches on the post-16 pathway are trained to degree level and so can fulfil the role of coach, class teacher and instructor.