Young footballers in Hartlepool will be learning new skills from former players.
For the third year in a row the budding players at Dyke House Sports and Technology College will be receiving coaching from former professionals.
It was fantastic to see the progress made last yearGary Bennett
Dyke House has linked up with the Back2Basics coaching team again after the excellent progress students have made under their watch already.
Former Sunderland players Gary Bennett, Kieron Brady and Julio Arca, plus ex-Middlesbrough defender, Dean Gordon, will be regularly visiting the school to put on sessions.
The quartet have seen numbers attending sessions swell during their time working with Dyke House, while they play a key role in helping to develop footballers enrolled on the Elite Development Squad sports scholarship programme.
Gary Bennett, the former Sunderland captain, said: “It was fantastic to see the progress made last year, when I believe Dyke House had six teams in town cup finals. Now, going into the third year, we are really looking forward to it.
“It seems there has also been progress in terms of behaviour, the understanding of the game and an increase in participation. We get a massive turnout now. If we turn up on a Wednesday there’s 40 students and hopefully we will see that continue.”
Back2Basics make sure at least one of the four ead the coaching sessions at Dyke House.
Danny Evans, the director of the school’s Elite Development Squad, said: “It is no coincidence that the success our school teams have had is as good as we can remember. A big part of that is thanks to the three weekly sessions Back2Basics’ coaches offer us.
“To have ex-professionals, who played at such a high level, not only coaching but mentoring our young footballers is an unbelievable opportunity to continue to access.”