Sunderland College student-athlete Will Jenkins has been rewarded for his stand-out performances for South Shields FC by signing his first senior contract with the club.
The exciting midfielder, who is part of the college’s Football Development Centre, made an immediate impact in the Mariners’ first team by opening the scoring in December’s 3-0 win over Radcliffe in the Northern Premier League.
Will, who turned 18 last month, finished the season with 12 appearances and two goals for Graham Fenton’s side, has credited his tutors and coaches for helping with his development both on and off the pitch.
Speaking of his delight at signing his contract, Will said: “My time with Sunderland College and South Shields Academy has really helped me develop over the last couple of years.
“I want to thank the curriculum team at Sunderland College including my lecturer Graham Hill, faculty director John Rushworth, who helped me originally to settle into college life, and Carl Jones who has helped me bridge the gap between education and football.
“Balancing my A-Levels with my football ambitions hasn’t been easy but having my education behind me has given me the platform to consider my next steps moving forward.
It has been a tough, rewarding but overall a brilliant couple of years for me and I look forward to the future as I try to push on and become a first-ream regular.“
Will is the fourth Development Centre player to sign senior contracts in the past 12 months, joining Arron Thompson, Callum Guy and Sam Hodgson, with England Schools international Matthew Wade hoping to follow in their footsteps after appearing for the first-team in the Durham Challenge Cup this season.
Carl Jones, Sport and Public Services lecturer, added: “What an outstanding achievement from Will. He is an excellent student-athlete who has successfully combined his academic studies with his ambitions in sport.
“Will has struck a remarkable balance between his A-Level pathway and playing for South Shields and we are delighted to hear of his recent success.
“The progress he has made has given him a solid platform for the future, and he is a fantastic ambassador for our Football Development Centre.”
Jon Shaw, Head of Professional Development at South Shields FC Academy, said: “We are delighted with the progress Will has shown on and off the pitch since he joined the club in 2018, and he has thoroughly deserved every opportunity which has come his way so far.
“Will is one of a number of Academy players who have made great strides over the last three years at South Shields Football Club and is now the fourth to have signed a first-team contract.
“The common link with all of them is that they have shown so much promise not only on the pitch but in the classroom too, as their results at Sunderland College prove and their success in their studies is every bit as important to us as their success on the pitch.”
If you have a talent for sport, combine your full-time studies with an elite coaching and games programme by joining Sunderland College’s Sport England-backed Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme or Sports Development Centres.
Student-athletes receive an impressive sport and education benefit package that furthers their sporting talent including high quality training and academic support in our multi-million-pound Sports Academy at Bede Campus.
To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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