Three budding young football stars from South Yorkshire have been offered the opportunity to train in America.
Harry Holland, age 17, and Chris Lacorni and Reece Clegg, both 18, have all been offered places on a four year scholarship programme in USA colleges, where they will develop their playing skills while studying for their degrees.
The teenagers, who all studied on the BTEC Sport Level Three Extended Diploma course for two years at Sheffield Wednesday, will train daily in top class professional facilities - as part of a new partnership between the Sheffield Wednesday Community Programme and the Collegiate Soccer USA.
Directed by former Sheffield Wednesday centre midfielder James O’Connor, Collegiate Soccer USA is the country’s leading football scholarship progeamme, working with student-athletes all over the world. Many more yoing future football stars from the region are expected to be recruited to take part in the programme.
Former Owl James O’Connor said: “I have been in the USA for four years since leaving Sheffield Wednesday and I have seen the tremendous opportunities for young people here in the United States. I am delighted to see Collegiate Sports USA building a partnership with Sheffield Wednesday as it will allow us to help create some fantastic opportunities for the young people in Sheffield and the surrounding areas.
“Over the last couple of years, Collegiate Sports USA have been able to source some outstanding scholarships for many SWFC youth team players. Those boys have gone on to do extremely well and are thriving in their current environment.”
John Williams, operations and coach development manager at the Sheffield Wednesday Community Programme, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the boys and it will be an unforgettable experience for them all. The quality of training and coaching in America is top class and it will provide them with excellent foundations for the future, whether that means they go on to play football professionally or coaching.”
Student Reece added: “I can’t wait to go and get started now. The course at Sheffield Wednesday has been so good and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do this if it wasn’t for choosing to study here. The course has given me good groundwork for the next stage in my education.”