Two young footballers have won scholarships to an American college after studying with Brighton & Hove Albion’s official charity.
Owen Andrews and Owen Muller both recently completed a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Physical Activity (Sport and Exercise Science) with Albion in the Community (AITC). The two-year course combines academic study at the American Express Community Stadium with an 11-a-side football programme that includes competitive matches against similar sides from other professional clubs’ community schemes.
Having graduated from AITC’s course and after impressing on and off the pitch, both players will now travel to America to study at North Iowa Area Community College.
There they will also compete in the college league as part of the NIACC Trojans soccer team.
Securing sporting scholarship to the States was the climax to a fantastic season for both players. AITC’s 11-a-side BTEC team finished second in the southern section of the National Youth League (U19) and only narrowly lost in a national final against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
And it is a programme both Owens would definitely recommend to others.
Owen Andrews, 18 from Henfield, said: “If you love your football and want to continue your academic studies, AITC’s course is probably the perfect option for you.
“The work load isn’t too overwhelming which allows you the balance between improving your game and gaining a qualification at the same time.”
Owen Muller, 18 from Brighton, agreed. He said: “It has been one of the best experiences of my life – particularly getting to play at the Stadium of Light.
“On the academic side of things, if you don’t get your coursework done you can’t play football which gives you an extra incentive to keep up to date with your work. If you want to play every game you have to get your work done.”
Having graduated from the AITC course, the friends are now just keen to cross the Pond and start life as NIACC Trojans.
Owen Andrews said: “Getting to play football every day really just makes me very excited.
“It’s a new experience moving to a new country, having to adapt to the lifestyle, new weather and meeting lots of new people but it is something I am really looking forward to.”
Sam El Abd, AITC coach and tutor, said: “Owen and Owen have done brilliantly this year and thrived in our alternative education environment. They really deserve this opportunity and we wish them all the best of luck.”
AITC is currently recruiting for its next BTEC intake, with students given the option of playing either 11-a-side or futsal. For more information, email: BTEC@albioninthecommunity.org.uk.