Four teenagers from the same school will be spending this summer coaching football in the USA after landing dream jobs.
Daniel Hulme, Zain Ulhaq, Alex Gray and Julia Syntek all study in the Trinity Sixth Form at St Thomas More Catholic Academy in Longton.
And alongside their other subjects, they have been taking a coaching qualification through the David Campbell Soccer School.
On the back of the partnership, all four have now secured paid work placements at U.S. summer camps. They will be spending 11 weeks coaching a range of different age groups.
Eighteen-year-old Julia, from Norton, said: “I’m very excited. I set off on June 3 and will be going to Baltimore.
“I’ve always been interested in different sports, especially football. When the opportunity came around, I thought I would have a go.”
They are among 25 sixth form students doing the coaching course at St Thomas More. It is offered at an equivalent standard to A-levels and involves academic and practical work. They work with a tutor from the soccer school.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant some activities have had to be curtailed, including coaching primary pupils and going on a trip to Portugal.
But Year 13 students still got to apply for coaching placements and four were chosen to fly out to the U.S. this summer. They will each pay £1,000 to cover accommodation, travel and expenses, but they will earn money while they are there.
Zain, from Longton, will be heading to Sacramento in California.
The 18-year-old said: “We are each staying with a host family and will be doing the coaching in different camps.
“I’m most looking forward to the experience and the environment.”
David is Baltimore-bound and Alex will be coaching in Providence, Rhode Island.
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During the students’ time in the States, they will also be able to visit other cities and soak up some of the sights.
Seventeen-year-old Alex, from Meir Hay, said: “Luckily, the pandemic hasn’t affected our plans.”
For Daniel, it’s the culmination of almost two years’ worth of work towards the coaching qualification.
The 18-year-old, from Meir Hay, said: “Everyone who’s taken part got the opportunity to have an interview to go to America.
“While we are there, we are going to be coaching Monday to Friday. On Sundays, we’ll go to a centre to find out what we’ll be doing the next week.”
St Thomas More is the only school outside the North West to be involved in the soccer school.
It was set up former Northern Ireland footballer David Campbell, who played in the 1986 World Cup.
Adele Bradbury, head of the sixth form at St Thomas More, said: “It’s given them opportunities they would not have had before. It’s been wonderful.”
Principal Mark Rayner added: “When we were looking at offering the course, it was the destinations of the students that really attracted us.
“Some of them have gone off to America. Some have gone on to join local football clubs.”
-- to www.stokesentinel.co.uk