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📝 Exeter College and Exeter City FC: Two Decades of Football Excellence and Community Impact

7 March 2024

Club News

📝 Exeter College and Exeter City FC: Two Decades of Football Excellence and Community Impact

7 March 2024

Now in its twentieth year, the partnership between Exeter College and Exeter City Football Club is a shining example of how education can make an impact in the community it serves and how that community can help shape young lives.

This partnership boasts over 100 students on its academy teams, which includes men and women's football, CEFA and futsal.

The partnership has made significant achievements during this time, including the growth in academy numbers, and investment in facilities for students and the community, providing a pathway for those aiming to be professional players, and a foundation degree linked with Exeter City Football Club and Plymouth Marjon University.

Showing no sign of slowing down, the College and the Club, with further support from the University of Exeter and Alphington Football Club,   have recently invested in spectator seating, pitch side at the Exwick Sports Hub. The 3G pitch is used by Exeter City women’s side, also known as The Grecians, to play their home fixtures. The seating has provided fans with some much-needed shelter through the winter season and meant aspiring young players can come and support their team.

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A new minibus for academy players has also benefited the teams, making their journey between college, training and away games, a lot easier.

Rob Bosworth, Deputy CEO, said;

"The partnership between Exeter College and Exeter City FC stands as a beacon of opportunity, guiding young talents toward both academic excellence and sporting achievement.

“Two decades of shared ambition, endless dedication, and boundless community impact has built not just a pathway to professional football, but a gateway to brighter futures for all our young people.”

The partnership between Exeter City and Exeter College combines training and matches with academic study. As well as having a performance pathway through the club’s apprenticeship scheme, the sports academy gives aspiring footballers the opportunities to develop their talents and focus on full-time academic or vocational courses, should they not quite break through as a professional player.

For over ten years Exeter City has provided the College with a member of its coaching staff to work alongside the college’s coaches to deliver training sessions. Currently this is Aaron Wakley for the Women’s Football Academy, Alex Bressington supporting the Men’s Football Academy, both who are College alumni themselves, and Chris Mcginn coaching Futsal and CEFA. The current Academy Operations and Performance Director, Arran Pugh is also a former Exeter College student.

Sonny Exeter College.jpg

Julian Tagg, Associate Director, President and Director of External Affairs at Exeter City Football Club, said;

“The partnership between Exeter City and Exeter College has gone from strength to strength over the last twenty years and really shows off the shared ethos, values and dedication of both organisations.

“All our young academy graduates have completed their education at Exeter College. In the past players like Dean Moxey and Ollie Watkins, who have gone on to achieve incredible things in their careers, and more recently seeing the likes of Sonny Cox go on to make his mark in the first team this season is both incredible to see and inspirational.

“The same goes for the likes of Connie Pengelly and Jess Sandland who have been crucial parts of the recent success of Exeter City Women. The College and Club work together to create well rounded young players.

“The new seated facility at the Exwick Sports Hub is yet another stride forward for the Women’s game and a celebration of what a partnership like this can produce.”

A recent success story of the partnership is Sonny Cox, Centre-Forward for Exeter City, he came up through the academy from a young age and recently scored the winning goal on Boxing Day against Wycombe Wanderers. He has just signed a new two year deal with the club. Aston Villa and England striker Ollie Watkins is another example to come through the League Football Education (LFE) programme. In addition, there is currently an amazing 8 alumni playing for the women’s squad,  who currently sit 9 points clear at the top of the table. This includes Connie Pengelly and Jess Sandland who are both currently studying on the Foundation Degree in Football Coaching and Development.

The Foundation Degree in Football Coaching and Development is in partnership with Exeter City Community Trust and is in its tenth year and continues to support students into football coaching and teaching jobs. A recent example is Daniel Leigh, who graduated from the College last year. Daniel won the Higher Technical Learner of the Year at the recent Exeter College Awards and now works full-time at Exeter City Community Trust.  

Exeter College is pivotal in making sure that players who come through the academy, but are not offered scholarships, still have a pathway to returning to professional or semi-professional football, coaching, or attaining academic opportunities that continue into a wide variety of fields, supported by the college’s extensive programmes.

If you want to be a part of the success of the Academy’s history, come and find out more at the next Exeter College Open Event. Register now.

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