A GROUP of Hartlepool footballers have given England’s World Cup training base the seal of approval after a fact-finding mission to America.
Dyke House Sports & Technology College has created links to a number of United States universities which could see the town’s teenagers head across the Atlantic Ocean.
Twelve Dyke House students joined four members of staff for a nine-day trip to Miami as the excelling College opened doors internationally – while testing out facilities Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney will use this summer at Barry University.
Roy Hodgson will take his World Cup squad to the same venue later this month when the football season draws to a close, and the England boss has chosen the same training base that Dyke House used ahead of the finals in Brazil in June.
Andrew Murphy, the head of college, fronted the group as they also visited Lynn and Northwood Universities.
“We went over there to have a look at sports scholarship programmes,” said Mr Murphy. “We wanted to see how we could provide a different route for our students to prolong their education once they leave us.
“It was fantastic for the students.
“The session put on was actually at the venue England will be using before they head out for the World Cup finals this summer. It was fantastic. A real experience for us all.
“I’m sure the England players and staff will love it when they get out there, and the lads were over the moon to be able to use the same facilities.”
From September Dyke House students due to leave at 16 could stay on to study A-levels at the Mapleton Road site’s newly-created Sixth Form College.
Dyke House already has its own scholarship programme, the Elite Development Squad, and by creating links to America the aim is to build on the progress made during secondary school.
Mr Murphy added: “As well as visiting those universities in America, we have forged strong links with Scholarship Connect’s Andrew Muxworthy.
“He has worked in the past with people like Sunderland striker Danny Graham. He will help our sport students go to start a scholarship in America if that’s what they want to do.”
Three golfers and two tennis players joined the seven footballers to spend more than a week in Miami.
One of the tennis players, Jamie Brabiner, is not due to join Dyke House until September from West Park Primary School.
Mr Murphy said: “Jamie and Damon Crawford received top coaching from a former American college No 1.
“The footballers we had out there had a training session with the head coach of Barry University, Steve McCrath.
Mr Murphy was joined by the College’s director of Elite Development Squad Danny Evans, the head of sixth form Martin Dorset-Purkiss and his deputy Kate Darley.
He said: “It has opened our eyes. We will now look to offer different academic options to Dyke House students, knowing the different requirements some American universities look for when offering places on their scholarships.”