New football academy to be launched

Sussex Coast College Hastings football academy in partnership with Skiltek - from left: Craig Ottley, Ben White and Steve Hedges
Sussex Coast College Hastings football academy in partnership with Skiltek - from left: Craig Ottley, Ben White and Steve Hedges
  • Sussex Coast College Hastings to launch new football development academy
  • Academy open to males and females, and will start in September
  • Course aims to help students carve out career in football
  • As well as playing experience, students can gain coaching/refereeing qualifications
  • Football progression evening at the college next Wednesday

Sussex Coast College Hastings is launching a brand new football development academy.

The academy - which the college claims is the first of its kind in the area - is open to males and females, and is set to kick-off in September 2016.

It will be overseen by Sussex Coast College sports tutor Craig Ottley and coaches from Skiltek, an independent football coaching company run by Ben and Dean White.

Ottley said: “This course is perfect for those guys, male and female, who love football and would like to make a career out of the game. But making a career out of football doesn’t necessarily have to be from playing the game at a professional level.

“The qualifications gained from this course will give them a footballing CV. From there, it can lead on to a number of different things, such as going to university for further study, undertaking further FA qualifications, becoming a physiotherapist or perhaps officiating.”

The academy will put football enthusiasts through their paces with professional style training sessions at Horntye Park, as well as marquee games against academy teams such as AFC Wimbledon, Charlton Athletic, Gillingham and Watford.

Although the college’s ultimate aim is to produce a professional footballer and it wants to get players into the Sussex schools’ teams, it’s certainly not all about the playing side of the game.

Students will also learn the theory of sport and physical activity, with the chance to gain a BTEC qualification in sport along with five other qualifications in the process, including FA level one and two coaching qualifications, plus a refereeing qualification.

Ben White said: “What we will do is provide football opportunities in different ways, be it playing, coaching, officiating and the new strands in the football industry such as recruitment and analysis, and sports science.”

Skiltek boasts a number of connections in the footballing community and for those students who excel at the playing side of the game, there is a real chance of being scouted by professional clubs or being offered scholarships.

Steve Hedges, from Sussex Coast College, said: “We’re looking for careers in the football industry, which is becoming bigger and bigger. We want to give them (students) opportunities to go and see what it’s all about. We want to get players into clubs for work experience and in two or three years’ time be able to have a prospectus that’s full of success stories.”

If you would like to find out more about the academy, which will run over four days each week, the college is hosting a football progression evening next Wednesday (January 13) from 6-8pm in the Coast Restaurant at Station Plaza.

Places in the academy are limited, and there has already been a good level of interest, not just from Hastings and the surrounding area, but also Eastbourne and even across the county border into Kent.

Anybody interested in getting involved is urged to register their interest as soon as possible by calling (01424) 458483 or emailing

Any businesses keen on sponsorship opportunities with the academy should email For information about other sports and UPS courses, email

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