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University and county FA team up to develop grassroots football in Northamptonshire

Date 29.09.2020

Grassroots football in Northamptonshire has received a boost thanks to a new partnership between the game’s regional governing body and county university.

The University of Northampton and Northamptonshire Football Association (NFA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at supporting the game’s growth across the county.

The agreement, which was signed on Thursday 26 September, formally recognises the intentions of the University and the NFA to collaborate on a number of projects.

Benefits for the University and its students and staff will include student placement opportunities, research studies and masterclasses. NFA staff will also inform the design and delivery of the institution’s sports degrees.

From left: Scott Bradley, UON Deputy Subject Leader Sport and Exercise; Rachel Ashmore, UON women’s football team captain; Christian Smith, NFA Partnerships Manager; Sarah Bentley, NFA CEO; John Sinclair, UON Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology; Balraj Dhingra, UON Students’ Union Sport Development Coordinator and Dr Peter Jones, UON Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology.

From left: Scott Bradley, UON Deputy Subject Leader Sport and Exercise; Rachel Ashmore, UON women’s football team captain; Christian Smith, NFA Partnerships Manager; Sarah Bentley, NFA CEO; John Sinclair, UON Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology; Balraj Dhingra, UON Students’ Union Sport Development Coordinator and Dr Peter Jones, UON Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology.

The NFA will host some short courses and continuing professional development events at the University in the short term, with a more structured programme of education to follow. The development of an NFA Academy will see the University support the training of coaches in a number of areas beyond football, utilising the expertise and knowledge of the University’s staff and students.

Dr Peter Jones, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology at the University, said: “We are delighted to be teaming up with the NFA. We have a strong and vibrant football culture locally and we can tap into this via the partnership, which will provide real-world experience for our Sport and Exercise students.  It will also support our growth and support of women’s football in the region.

“Through the partnership we can support Northamptonshire FA’s strategic objectives of growing regional football at all levels. In doing this, we are not only supporting the thriving local football scene, but also having positive social impact on people in the county, which is a key driver for the University.”

Christian Smith, Partnerships Manager at NFA, said: “We are looking forward to collaborating on a number of projects that will enhance learning opportunities for students and all members of the football family across the county, and support growth in football participation across all ages and abilities.”

Captain of the University’s women’s football team, Rachel Ashmore, believes the partnership will help to develop the women’s game at institution.

She said: “It’s great to have a formal relationship with the NFA. It shows that we take the game seriously and will help us to take steps to improve the women’s set up here at the uni.”