Kepier School – partners of Durham Women FC – are toasting national success after being crowned joint winners of the ESFA Elite National Cup.
It’s a further sign of success for Kepier’s ever-growing Football Academy, which has seen four of the cup-winning squad sign for professional football clubs.
The competition is held on an annual basis for schools who compete at the elite level with a number of teams boasting a host of academy players from top clubs.
They included Kepier’s opponents in the semi-finals, Thomas Telford School, who have a strong record in the tournament and whose squad consisted of players from some of the Midlands’ top clubs.
But a fine performance from Kepier saw them run out 5-3 winners in a dramatic last four tie, teeing-up a final with Torquay Boys Grammar School.
The impact of COVID, however, meant that the final was unable to be played – meaning Kepier were crowned as joint winners.
And the success of the programme hasn’t stopped there, with Ellis Stanton (Newcastle United), Ben Parkinson (Newcastle United), Ben Middlemas (Sunderland AFC) and Ryan Carr (Carlisle United) all signing for professional clubs.
Commenting on the continuing development of the programme, Principal of Kepier Mrs Ashton said: “Kepier is committed to encouraging the best players both female and male, to join the School’s high quality Football Programmes.
“We have a proven track record of success with our Football Academy and at the same time ensuring excellent academic results for these learners. “
The news comes as Durham Women FC and Kepier prepare to launch a new Youth Development Programme for the 2021/22 academic year – which will give both male and female pupils at the School a chance to pursue a career in football while ensuring their studies are not affected.
The programme is aimed at pupils who will be moving into Year 7 and Year 8 in September 2021 and wish to take up the opportunity to study at Kepier while forming part of the football programme.
Members of the Youth Development Programme will receive specialised coaching alongside a structured timetable of lessons with the aim of becoming a part of Durham Women FC’s dual-career pathway.
The timetable on offer to members of the programme will ensure they receive five sessions of coaching per week within school hours, with training sessions scheduled so as not to affect core subjects.
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