LIVERPOOL duo Suso and Dani Pacheco attended the launch of the Liverpool FC Foundation Football College.
The Reds stars took part in a coaching session with students who are part of the innovative full-time programme based at the University of Liverpool Wyncote Sports Ground.
Around 60 youngsters aged 16 to 19 are involved in the college which helps those with a passion for football pursue their dreams. As well as training and playing matches against other colleges, they work towards achieving GCSE, A-Level and FA coaching qualifications.
It’s a partnership between the Liverpool FC Foundation and SALT (Sport Art Learning and Training), and is the brainchild of Liverpool Academy coaches David Rowe and David MacDiarmid.
Rowe said: “I can’t thank the club enough for giving me the support and the guidance to set the college up. It’s about taking what we do at the Academy and putting it out there for young people in our city. Our community is getting the benefit of that.
“The main focus is on helping kids get qualifications but football is the carrot. They come from all parts of Liverpool and the badge is great at bringing people together. We’re based at the university and the facilities are superb. It’s great what the university is doing for the young people of our city.”
During last season’s pilot scheme they enjoyed a number of notable successes en route to winning the National Colleges Cup. One of their students, former Reds youth striker Paul Mullin from Bootle, was signed by Huddersfield on a two-year deal.
“After being released by Liverpool, Paul was quite de-motivated and on the verge of packing in, but he came along to us and absolutely loved it,” said MacDiarmid. “He was the king pin of the team which won the Cup and things have worked out well for him.
“This can be a one, two or three-year course. It’s about moving them forward in life as people as well as with their football. We offer a broad range of qualifications and they go down different paths – playing full-time, playing part-time, coaching, or employment in other areas.”
The university’s sports operations manager Peter Sampara said: “What the LFC Foundation are trying to achieve ticks all the boxes for us. It provides young people with an opportunity. It gives them direction and something to aspire to.”
There are still places available on the Level 1 and Level 2 programmes. Call 0151 7244983 to set up an interview.