New Season, New program, New Faces
As another season and school term approaches, the excitement of welcoming student athletes to the new UDA Academy at the University of Gloucestershire heightens. This season we are pleased to welcome a squad of 18 from the USA, Canada and India to the UoG Academy.
We are even more excited that our student athletes will have the chance to live on campus and experience what it's like to be a student in Gloucester and Cheltenham. In some of the country's most beautiful terrain, the new UoG Academy will kick off in September at the university's Oxstalls Campus.
UDA Executive Director, Brian Haley stated “we are delighted to expand our opportunities by partnering with the University of Gloucestershire for international student athletes seeking a world-class degree that fits their career goals as well as offering a professional football development program that will help them reach their optimal playing potential."
Haley continued, “Our mission is to change lives through education, and we believe that the University of Gloucestershire's campus, world class academic programs, facilities and faculty will allow our student athletes to not only live our mission, but exceed their goals.”
As the new term approaches, our goal remains the same - to help student athletes find a program in which they can study, live and thrive. For incoming recruit Roi Gill, from Ontario, Canada we believe we have done just that, "the ability to pursue both of my passions is what drew me to this program. I have been playing football for most of my life, and my dream is to play it professionally. This program will give me the opportunity to do that, while also studying computer science which is something I've known I wanted to learn for a few years" stated Gill.
In addition to playing football year round, our student athletes will gain the skills they need to be successful off the pitch. Mal Saville, Program Administrator and Quality Assurance Director for the UDA UoG programme reflects on the experience students can expect at the academy, "the University of Gloucestershire is an excellent university, combined with the football experience that is awaiting them, they can experience the best of both worlds. That is, achieving their full potential academically and on the football field they can be challenged to achieve their fullest potential, both are very exciting and rewarding."
Thinking ahead to his time at UoG, Gill remarked, "from this program I'm hoping to get opportunities to showcase my skills in front of professional coaches. I want to improve my game and take it to the next level and try to accomplish my dream. I am also hoping for a great education for my computer science degree so if I am not successful in the football side I can pursue my other passion."
There is a lot to look forward to beginning this fall and welcoming a new set of parents and students to the UDA family is just one of them. "We are delighted to contribute to [the student athletes] gaining a very good degree for their future career, an excellent footballing experience and contributing to the person they hope to become," stated Saville.
As we approach the start of a new term, we are looking forward to "welcoming individuals to the UDA family, alleviating them and their parents of any concerns, fears and anxieties they may have, turning them into a team and helping them achieve their full potential, both academically and on the football field," stated Saville.
Our student athletes are just as eager to start this term, "I am most excited to become a big part of the team and meet the players, coaches and supporting staff. I love playing football and I am looking forward to enjoying every minute of it with my new team. I am also really excited to have opportunities to play against academies and see what they train and play like," stated Gill.
Amidst the busyness of a new term, our student support officer, Paul Nichols will be there for each student, equipped with the ability to help students get settled and prepare for a successful year both on and off the pitch. "We are excited to see our student athletes thrive at the new UDA UoG academy, "with an excellent education, an excellent football experience combining the ethos and values of UDA, students and their parents are in a win-win situation," Saville remarked. He continued, "I have been planning this over the past 18 months and to see the September start date close is very exciting. Recruitment of staff and planning training times is very exciting, if not a wee bit scary!”
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