US opportunity for Darwen football hopefuls

Blackburn Citizen: Academy students with, from left, DACA Football Academy director Chris Worthington, Quincy University assistant coach Sean Hughes, coach and former Blackburn Rovers player Matt Jansen and Quincy University men’s soccer coach Mike Carpenter Academy students with, from left, DACA Football Academy director Chris Worthington, Quincy University assistant coach Sean Hughes, coach and former Blackburn Rovers player Matt Jansen and Quincy University men’s soccer coach Mike Carpenter

YOUNG footballers from Darwen could soon be heading to the US on lucrative college scholarships.

Darwen Aldridge Community Academy has formed a partnership with Quincy University in Illinois.

The men’s head soccer coach Mike Carpenter and assistant coach Sean Hughes visited the Sudell Road school to watch a training session and Lancashire Cup match against Thomas Whitham Sixth Form in Burnley.

The American university system allows for gifted and talented students to obtain scholarships by means of reduced tuition fees and the pair were looking to recruit students to the college’s university soccer programme.

Chris Worthington, DACA’s lead teacher for the football academy, said: “I am really happy that Mike and Sean took some time to visit DACA on their recent trip to the UK. They discussed the opportunities that are out there for our students should they want to continue through to higher education in the American university system.

“The soccer programmes that the colleges in the United States have are outstanding.

“They have excellent facilities, teams of specialist coaches, daily training sessions and even televised games.

“Universities offer various percentage scholarships, and that is something that we will be advising our students with.

“We want to make sure that they are making the right decisions about their futures.”

Former Blackburn Rovers striker Matt Jansen, who coaches the DACA squad, said: “Mike and Sean were really impressed with the football academy.

“I am delighted that they were keen to form a partnership with us and not surprisingly have shown an interest in some of our players.

“I can understand why these universities have been in contact with us, we have a really talented set of players here and I hope that the boys who are interested make it on to these programmes.”

Representatives from the University of Alabama Huntsville and Georgia Gwinnett College, Atlanta, have already expressed an interest in some DACA players.

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