Two of the UK’s top young international footballers kicked off the next stage in their careers when they joined the Academy of Sport at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre to tap into its coaches’ professional expertise.
Advanced Level students Sadie Mitchell and Naomi Hartley, who are both 16, are perfecting the skills that they hope will take them to the highest level in the professional game alongside former Burnley FC players and experienced coaches Andy Payton and Gerry Harrison, as well as Fitness Evolution’s award-winning fitness professionals.
Naomi, a centre back who captains England’s Under-17s women’s team and is a member of Liverpool FC’s women’s team, said: “My goal is to become a professional footballer and reach the top of my game: the Academy of Sport is certainly helping me towards that.
“It is great to have former professional players coaching me, studying all aspects of my game and using their own experience to help me reach a new level is awesome."
Sadie, a winger who is a Scotland international and Manchester City women’s team reserve, said: “The Sports Academy at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre is really helping me to grow as a player and I’m learning so much.”
As part of their studies, Naomi and Sadie are also receiving tuition in the classroom on subjects including fitness testing and training; sports coaching; anatomy and physiology; injury in sport; psychology in sports performance; sports development; leadership development; nutrition for sports performance; planning and leading sports activities and business for sport.
Both Naomi, a former Blessed Trinity RC College student, from Burnley, and Sadie, from Colne, a former Fisher-More RC College student, developed their love of football as six-year-olds at Burnley Football Club sessions.
They have both progressed through the ranks of the Clarets’ junior girls’ teams and played for Blackburn Rovers girls’ teams, too, before their exceptional talent was recognised by Manchester United scouts.
Ashley Alderson, of Burnley College Sixth Form Centre Academy of Sport, said: “Both Sadie and Naomi have great professional careers ahead of them and we’re proud to be part of their journey here at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre Academy of Sport. Our coaching staff, our facilities and training methods are all geared towards producing the very best.”