Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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2 July 2007 PR 07/92

Loughborough embarks on an ambitious football player development plan

Loughborough University has embarked on an ambitious long-term plan for its football club to enter the world’s oldest knockout trophy, the FA Cup.

“We see this as a really positive step for us in terms of player development,” said the University’s director of football James Ellis.

“Unfortunately we will not be able to enter the FA Cup proper until at least 2008-09, but from next year we will be able to enter the FA Vase competition.

“This step up in competition for our players will not only help the University’s football programme but also the individual players, who will be better equipped to make the step up into higher levels of competition once they have finished studying.”

The student football club, which plays in only the British Universities Sports Association (BUSA) competition, is able to enter the Football Association competitions because it has entered the premier division of the Midlands Football Combination – step six of the FA’s pyramid.

“A lot of our students are only playing the 14 or so BUSA matches a year and by entering the pyramid we are expecting they will now play at least 30 games a year, against a higher standard of opponents,” said Loughborough’s head coach Tom Curtis, who had a 15-year professional career after graduating from the University with a degree in Geography and Sports Science.

“That need to increase their match fitness and the experience of playing against bigger and physically stronger teams will allow our players to improve themselves and that will undoubtedly help them continue to a higher level when they graduate.”

Students who are already playing at a higher level would not be expected to play for the University side in the league said Ellis.

“That would be counter productive – we want our students to be playing at the highest possible level and we would certainly not stand in their way if they are playing at a level higher than what we can offer them,” Ellis added.

The club will ground share with Loughborough Dynamo on Nanpantan Road, while it investigates upgrading a pitch on the University campus to league requirements.


Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training f acilities across a wide range of sports.

In the 2006 National Student Survey, the University gained a top five place, with nine out of Loughborough’s 23 departments topping their subject tables. Loughborough was also placed 6th in the 2007 Times Good University Guide and was named winner of the 2006 THES award for the UK’s Best Student Experience. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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