A team of well-known professional footballers have united with a Hartlepool senior school to give students some top coaching tips.
Former Middlesbrough and Sunderland winger Julio Arca, along with another Boro old boy Dean Gordon and ex-Black Cats stars Gary Bennett and Kieron Brady, will regularly deliver coaching and classroom sessions to the Dyke House Sports and Technology College’s budding footballers.
All four have played at the highest level of the English game and boast more than 2,000 games between them.
Now after forming the Back2Basics football coaching clinics Arca, Bennett, Brady and Gordon have started an exciting year at Dyke House by meeting some of the young footballers they will be nurturing.
They will coach the college’s Year 7 and Year 8 teams as well as work closely with former Hartlepool United striker Eifion Williams in nurturing the football students on the College’s Elite Development Squad programme.
As well as coaching on the field, the Sunderland-Middlesbrough old boys will give them an insight in the classroom into the life of a professional sports person, media training and use of social media.
Hopefully we can help to bring on plenty of young footballers throughout HartlepoolGary Bennett, ex-Sunderland captain
Ex-Sunderland captain Bennett, who had spells with Cardiff and Manchester City among others, said: “We are working with Dyke House to develop the footballers and hopefully provide them with the skills to not just become better players but people too.
“It will be a pleasure to work with a school like Dyke House. We have been impressed with the facilities and the outlook of the college and we are looking forward to getting started.
“Hopefully we can help to bring on plenty of young footballers throughout Hartlepool.”
Former Republic of Ireland Under-21s winger Brady was part of the Sunderland team between 1989-1992 before he was forced to retire, while Gordon has played all over the world since playing for Crystal Palace, Boro, Cardiff and Coventry City.
Danny Evans, director of the Elite Development Squad at Dyke House, said: “What an opportunity this is for our students to work with players of the calibre of these guys who together have played at the highest level for decades.”
Sport students also get top advice from Hartlepool golfer Graeme Storm, netball coaching by Natasha Hampshire, Anthony Robinson, of Hartlepool Heat is working with the basketball squad and Chris Parr with athletes.