Students named as regional and national winners in the 2019 USW/EFL Trust Student Awards

Upcoming coaches from the world of community football have been formally recognised by the University of South Wales in partnership with the English Football League Trust (EFLT) for their efforts in promoting the sport across the UK.

Students and professionals based at Premier League, Championship and Football League clubs have emerged as regional and national winners in the 2019 USW/EFL Trust Student Awards after nominees were selected from students working towards the USW Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development.

Based at professional clubs nationwide, students are supported in completing their degree qualification remotely via a blended learning platform – an innovative approach that places the learner within the industry setting and enables them to apply their knowledge alongside study accordingly.

Launched in 2014 as a joint venture between USW and the EFL Trust to provide a solid theoretical and practical foundation of professional coaching skills, as well as opportunities to acquire nationally recognised vocational qualifications, the degree course also serves to identify up and coming industry talent through its annual awards scheme.

Starting with a shortlist of regionally selected nominations, the national winners in this year’s Academic Student of the Year and Professional Practice Award categories have now been announced.

Academic Student of the Year Award

In the Academic Student of the Year Award category Bristol City’s Kai Long was named as the National Academic Student of the Year for Year One students and Sheffield United student Andy Kempson was named as the National Academic Student of the Year for Year Two. Both candidates impressed the awards panel with outstanding grades and an unprecedented commitment to supporting their fellow students.

In the Professional Practice Award category there were 2 nominations that the panel could not split between Birmingham City’s James Irwin & Derby County student Zac Yates who collectively took the National Professional Practice Award for Year One students after demonstrating a considerable amount of time dedicated towards a variety of community sports projects.

Across Year Two students it was Shrewsbury’s Mark Bull who claimed the National Professional Practice Award title. Mark has used his experiences to develop and promote valuable and enjoyable learning opportunities with learners to enhance their football ability within and around Shrewsbury.

Course leader Bobby Briers: "These awards serve to highlight the wealth of up and coming talent the professional football environment has to draw on both via the University of South Wales and industry wide. As a pioneering course provider seeking to provide students with an ‘industry-ready’ approach, the team here at USW are heartened and delighted evidence of such dedication and commitment continues to come to light."

Selected by a panel of USW academics and EFLT staff with a combination of achieved grades and commitment to professional practice such as volunteering, coaching, work placement and other opportunities in mind. Winners in the 2019 awards scheme also included the following:

Academic Performance Award

North West: Year One – Sarah Jayne Smith (Carlisle); Year Two – Matthew McHale (Wigan Athletic)
North East: Year One – Jason Land (Grimsby Town); Year Two – Andy Kempson (Sheffield United)
Central: Year One – Morgan Brough & Lucas Carter (Derby); Year Two – Cameron Higgins (Derby)
South: Year One – Kai Long (Bristol City) ; Year Two – Harry Thomas (Swansea City)

Year 1 - National Academic Award – Kai Long (Bristol City 74%)
Year 2 – National Academic Award – Andy Kempson (Sheffield United 84%)

Professional Practice Award

North West: Year One – Luke Woods (Wigan Athletic); Year Two – Andy Miller (Wigan Athletic)
North East: Year One – Luke Taylor (Rotherham) & Jason Land (Grimsby)
Central: Year One – James Irwin (Birmingham City) & Zac Yates (Derby County); Year Two – Mark Bull (Shrewsbury)
South: Year One – Kira Valley (Portsmouth); Year Two – Harry Collins (Portsmouth)

Year 1 – National Professional Practice Award – James Irwin (Birmingham) & Zac Yates (Derby)
Year 2  - National Professional Practice Award – Mark Bull (Shrewsbury)