Footballer Jonathan Smith raises the bar at Central Bedfordshire College
Luton Town midfielder Jonathan Smith will be sharing his football experience with students from Central Bedfordshire College’s football academy as he joins the college’s coaching team this week. Jonathan will be coaching students enrolled on the college’s sports courses which are part of its Football Academy based at Creasey Park in Dunstable.
Jonathan will provide real life inspiration to the students, many of whom have their sights set on professional footballing careers. Taking his first session this week, he said: “I also started my footballing career studying for a BTEC in Sport as well as playing at a high level, and it has helped me on the pitch but also has given me the foundation for a career after my professional days are over.” Jonathan praised the students on their hard work and promised to impart his experience and skills to them, adding: “They are a great squad and I can see a lot of potential.”
The Football Development programme at Central Bedfordshire College is directly linked to Luton Town Football Club and provides talented young footballers with the coaching and competitive opportunities to develop their game as well as providing formal sport and coaching qualifications for their future careers.
The programme allows students to train like professional footballers while studying on one of a wide range of specific sports programmes. There’s six hours training per week and they can play in one of three squads; alongside this they attend lessons on their chosen course towards a formally recognised qualification and additional FA approved coaching qualifications.
The most talented have the opportunity to progress onto Luton Town FC’s successful Youth Development Programmes, with an impressive seven graduates now playing in the Premier League.
Head of programme Colin Sharpe is passionate about giving students access to top level football development alongside their academic studies, said: “We are delighted to have Jonathan join our team – as someone with current match experience he brings a dynamic dimension to our teaching and coaching and the students will benefit enormously from working with him.”
The College prides itself on ensuring its students are realistic about their future and understand the highly competitive aspect of the professional footballing arena. It therefore ensures a strong academic focus so students are well equipped for careers on and off the pitch. With 91% achievement and a second “good” Ofsted rating, the academic standards are on a par with the high standard of coaching which has produced players such as Crystal Palace’s Keshi Anderson. The College’s squads are also very successful having scooped seven league titles and two league cups to date.