THREE young footballers are using their heads by continuing their studies at college in case their playing days come to an end.
Luke James, Ryan Tuck and Josh Nearney are all on the books at Hartlepool United, with Ryan and Josh in the youth team and Luke already well-known thanks to some promising displays for the first team.
But all three are also continuing in further education, studying at East Durham College (EDC) and ED6 as a back-up plan for their future.
Luke, 17, who has already made 24 league appearances and scored four goals for the first team and youth team captain Ryan, 17, are both studying BTECs in sport at the Peterlee college with Ryan also studying for his Level 2 fitness instructors qualification.
Josh, 17, is also studying on the BTEC and is also one of only five boys in England on the League Football Education programme who is studying for an A-level. Youth team captain Ryan said: “Really it’s always important to have a back-up plan. Nowadays in football you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Josh said: “Whether it is injuries or even contracts you just don’t know, so you need to have something to fall back on. Having a back-up plan is always important for your future.”
And Josh is also hoping that with taking on an added A-level in physical education, as well as the BTEC, he will be able to go to university if things don’t work out for him on the field. Josh added: “I decided to go towards an A-level mainly in case I didn’t get a contract, and I think it’s better to have a BTEC and an extra A-level.”
EDC sports lecturer Michael Taylor believes the lads can go far.
He said: “They have been remarkable with their efforts both in their training on the football field and when coming into college to continue their studies.”
Mr Taylor praised the help and cooperation of Hartlepool United and League Football Education, adding: “The support they have received from all their coaches, John Hewitson in the youth team, Micky Barron at reserve level and Neale Cooper, the first team coach, has been fantastic.”