Manchester Metropolitan University and Newcastle Under Lyme College joined forces in 2005 to establish their football academy for school leavers (16-19 year olds).

Students who successfully gain a place in the academy work towards a BTEC Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science and Sport Performance, delivered by Newcastle under Lyme College at Manchester Metropolitan University's Cheshire Campus. The students are coached 5 days a week by UEFA qualified coaches at the Cheshire Campus and combine their training with study in subjects such as Anatomy, Nutrition and Fitness testing.

The Football Academy is brought to you by Manchester Metropolitan University, the UK's most popular University and the West Midlands' top sports college.

About the Academy

The Academy was set up in 2005 in partnership with Newcastle Under Lyme College to provide school leavers with the opportunity to be a part in a structured football coaching programme taught by professional UEFA Qualified coaches and study a BTEC National Diploma in Sport. All players follow a rigorous programme of study and coaching to develop their talent, whilst working towards nationally recognised sports qualification alongside their training. The 2009/2010 season saw the MMU Football Academy win the Football Conference Youth Alliance Cup. The side lead by joint head coaches Nigel Deeley and Stephen Atkinson beat Woking 2-1 in the final held at Rushden and Diamonds.

The Academic Programme

Newcastle-under-Lyme College was rated by Ofsted in 2014 as "outstanding for sport, recreation and leisure".

You will study an OCR Level 2 Diploma in Sport or BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport (Performance and Excellence).

What are the entry requirements?

OCR Level 2 Diploma in Sport - You'll need a minimum two GCSEs at C or above including English Language or Maths.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport - You'll need a minimum of four GCSEs at C or above including either English OR Maths and Science OR Physical Education or a merit in a Level 2 Diploma in Sport, together with GCSE English and Maths at grade C or above.

At the end of their studies, over 80% of learners are classified as high achievers with 42% reaching a DDD profile or higher.

The Coaches

Nigel Deeley
Joint Head Youth Coach and Football Association Scout
UEFA A License Coach


Stephen Atkinson
Joint Head Youth Coach and Premier League Academy Coach
UEFA B License Coach
BA Hons Coaching and Sport Development

The Coaching Programme

A structured professional coaching programme which includes:

Functional practices: to improve individual players technical job role in the team, working through all three units of defence, midfield and attack.

Phases of play: to improve and look at potential strengths and weaknesses within the team as a whole and to look at various formats to combat opposition strategies during games.

Small Sided Games: to improve all round team play through a series of games right through to 11v11.

The Games Programme

The Academy plays in two competitive leagues which enable players to challenged and extend in their development.

British Colleges Elite League
The National League U19 Alliance

Fixtures against professional clubs youth and academy teams are also arranged throughout the year, as part of our ongoing work with professional clubs to provide exit routes for their players.

Strength and Conditioning Programme

All Academy players take part in a Strength and Conditioning Programme developed and implemented by the universities Sport and Exercise Science students. As part of the programme players are offered discounted access to the universities multi-station Fitness Suite.

Coach Development

All Academy players have the opportunity to gain their FA Level 1 Certificate in Coaching Football. The course which is included as part of the players development programme is delivered on campus by our FA Qualified tutor.

Academy players who successfully complete their Level 1 Certificate will have the opportunity to progress onto their Level 2 Certificate in Coaching. The course is offered to Academy players at discounted rate and will enable the players to gain paid coaching work with local employers.

St Georges Park National Centre

The Academy work closely with the Football Association (FA) and the Professional Football Association (PFA) supporting the Senior Pro's A and B licence coach education pathways. You will have the chance to be an active member of the coaching process at the National Centre.

Success Stories

American Scholarship

Six players in 2015 have secured an American Scholarship including four in 2014.

Academic Success

At the end of your studies, over 80% of learners are classified as high achievers with 42% reaching DDD profile or higher. Over 30 learners have progressed onto Higher Education courses.

Jack Sherratt

Jack attended the Academy from 2009-2011 and has since studied a Exercise and Sport Science undergraduate degree at MMU. In 2013 Leyton Orient signed Jack after the conclusion of the Samsung Win A Pro Contract competition. Jack beat over 5,500 entrants in the competitions and signed a 1 year contract with the League 1 side.

Ben Mills

Ben attended the academy from 2005-2007 and complete his BTEC National Diploma in Sport. After completing the programme Ben continued his football development in Non-League with Alfreton Town, Nantwich Town and Stafford Rangers, before securing a move into professional football in 2012 when he signed for Macclesfield Town.

“Best two years of my life at MMU, made some fantastic friends whilst gaining a formal education. The MMU programme and staff helped me develop as a person and footballer.”

Chris Smith

Chris attended the academy from 2008-2010, completing his BTEC National Diploma in Sport before continuing his studies at Staffordshire University. In 2012 Chris won the Samsung and FourFourTwo Win A Pro Contract Competition which enabled him to sign for Paulo Di Canio’s Swindon Town.

English Schools FA

In the 2010/11 season three of the Academy players were selected for the English Schools FA Under 18s squad to play in the Centenary Shield Home Nations Tournament. Josh Glover, Cliff Moyo and Jack Sherratt all represented their country in the tournament and have since graduated from the Academy and continued their development in non-league football.

Key Contacts and more information

Nigel Deeley
Joint Head Youth Coach and Football Association Scout

Phone: 0161 2475296

Steve Atkinson
Joint Head Youth Coach and Premier League Academy Coach

Phone: 0161 2475298

David Sutton
Curriculum Leader

Phone: 01782 254317

Football Academy Brochure

Download the Football Academy brochure