Milton Abbey School is working with the Champion Sports Group to offer an Elite Football Programme to talented young footballers from Dorset, the UK and throughout the world.

The scheme is believed to be the first of its kind.

Milton Abbey is an independent school in Milton Abbas near Blandford. It has partnered with a Dorset-based sports academy which has already signed more than 90 young people to professional and international teams.

The school’s Director of Sports Ben Lawes said: “If selected for the programme, talented young players will receive the best levels of football training and access to our sports courses, combined with a personalised approach to their wider education and the chance to play and train up to six times a week.

“During the school day, we will provide a rounded education covering sports and other core subjects, dedicated time to develop the mental attitude, financial skills and tactical knowledge required to succeed in professional sports, plus the opportunity to train during games time and to represent the school in competitive fixtures.

“Our football students will train and study in an inspiring and safe countryside setting, with a huge range of other extra-curricular and social activities available at the school. In additional to football training, they will have access to our conditioning gym, swimming pool, on-site golf course and cycling studio to help maintain their overall fitness.”

In the collaboration with Champion Sports Group – who already coach more than 1,000 young people at a variety of levels across the South coast – the school will also host a professional football academy led by FA-accredited coaches during evenings and weekends.

Footballers at the school will be able to join the academy, while other talented youngsters who don’t attend the school will benefit from access to the exceptional pitches and other facilities offered at Milton Abbey.

As part of the arrangement, local young people, selected for Champion’s first full-time professional development team, have already played matches at the school and have taken part in joint lessons with Milton Abbey students.

Managing Director of Champion Sports Group, Dan Neville, said: “We are really pleased to be working with such a prestigious partner on this new initiative. We feel the football programme will be one of the leading sports offerings in not only the UK, but abroad as well.

“I’m excited to be able to give serious athletes from all over the world the opportunity to develop their skills in a fantastic setting.

“Between the school and academy staff we will be offering tailored conditioning plans, sports psychology, football-specific academy training sessions, varied and competitive team games and regular reports on their progress.

“We will also be using Milton Abbey’s superb footballing facilities, which include immaculately maintained grass pitches, a floodlight all-weather surface, a strength and conditioning gym and a swimming pool. Their kitchen will prepare sports-specific food to ensure our athletes enjoy the very best diet and nutrition.

“For boarding pupils, the programme will provide a full support package, including a variety of evening and weekend activities. This is a key detail, as it allows me to scour the globe for the best athletes and promote the scheme when our academy teams are competing inter-
nationally.

“I am really looking forward to getting started, meeting our athletes, watching them develop and sharing their success stories.”

The Elite Football Programme is open to talented footballers aged from 13 to 16 when joining the school. An assessment day is in early February. The scheme is being promoted at international youth tournaments in Puerto Rico and Spain, where Champion Academy teams are playing.

Milton Abbey School already has an excellent reputation for its football facilities. During holidays when pupils are away, it hosts residential courses for adults who are studying for FA Football Coaching qualifications.

The school is also used for residential summer schools and pre-season training by Premier League and international teams.

If interested in hearing more about the programme or applying for it, visit www.miltonabbey.co.uk/football