Four former Nottingham Forest stars are showing their support for youngsters aspiring to follow in their footsteps. Household names, Andy Reid, Ian McParland, Paul Hart and Gary Charles are coaching players at You Can Do Sport Football Academy, the first and only of its kind to launch in Newark in 2018. With all 4 coaches having played, coached and managed at a professional level, players enjoy a coaching experience that is second to none.
Gary Charles, who was twice capped for England and played for Nottingham Forest, Derby County and Aston Villa during his illustrious career. Gary said that the scope for Newark students to choose a sports-based education, with access to coaches who are usually only available to elite athletes, is too good to miss. “I think if students are unsure of what they want to do, and they like sport, they should come to one of our trials, no matter what their current level of expertise. It’s not necessarily for potential pro-players, you might want to be a referee or a coach or a PE teacher and it all works as great experience towards it. As a coach it’s my job to take people of all abilities and improve their game and encourage them to enjoy the process.”
Former Ireland International and current Head Coach to Irelands U18s, Andy Reid, played 263 times for Forest. Andy says that their involvement is due to their shared love of football. “Charlie and Paul asked me if I would come down and help where I can, and I’m happy to. You never lose the love of football and I think that’s why we do it, the four of us, because it’s giving something back to the young kids. Seeing them improve from session to session is really rewarding.”
Gary was formerly the Director of Football at the University of Nottingham and says, “I have witnessed this sort of programme succeeding, one particular young man springs to mind. He didn’t play particularly well, but I admired him because he took a shot at a two-year course when he couldn’t really play football. But at the end of the two years, his football had improved massively, and he had his coaching badges and now he’s working in America.”
Ian (known as Charlie) McParlands experience saw him play 221 times for Notts County before joining Nottingham Forest as a caretaker manager. Ian says, “This is a very exciting choice for students, especially those who are less academic and crack under exam pressure. They get a BTEC L3 Diploma in Sport, which is equivalent to 3 A-Levels, but they do so by playing football and studying nothing but sport. So if sports your thing, what better way is there to move forward at a young age. It keeps them fit, enables them to make lifelong friends and teaches them many different values and life skills that will help them throughout their life. As I said to the students; it’s respect for yourself, your teammates, your mum and dad who support you, and the teamwork skills that come from that.”
You Can Do Sport co-founder Natalia Postlethwaite says: “The courses will place education on an equal par to the football to create the best outcomes for students. Students will undertake a well-rounded, holistic education in Sport covering Sports nutrition, physio, anatomy and psychology alongside strengthening and conditioning, leadership and individual profiling”
“Our programme provides an opportunity for students who cannot afford to travel out of Newark every-day, or who wish to continue their aspirations in the town regardless. We will also offer free match and training kit to ensure it is an equal opportunities initiative available to all who wish to apply.”
“Our students play in a competitive league to ensure they play regular games and to give them the best possible chance to improve their abilities and hone their skills.”
The 2-year, full-time programme is open to male and female students age 16-19yrs. Players train on brand-new 3G facilities at the multi-million pound YMCA Sports Village development in Newark. Whilst 50% of the week is spent on the pitch and 50% in the classroom, students also enjoy visits from guest speakers and coaches, special away-days and engage in a number of enrichment activities throughout the course including the opportunity to study FA accredited qualifications in either coaching or refereeing.
You Can Do Sport are hosting their next football academy trial on the 22ndJune from 10am – 12noon at the YMCA Sports Village, Bowbridge Rd, Newark.