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SAINTS' managing director Mike Harris has confirmed that the club is keen to promote students from its Football Scholarship Programme into the first team squad.
This follows the Welsh Premier's decision earlier this year to allow youth players on the bench at WP games, in addition to the three substitutes normally allowed.
Already this season, TNS have brought on Rob Ashley, Craig Blakemore and David Lewis for League or Cup experience, and Rowan Ardill, Ben Cheadle, Daniel Edwards, Dan Hamer, Darran Lawrence, Mike Mullins and Sam Jones have all sat on the bench.
Even if the lads don't get a game, the experience of being part of the first team squad is invaluable.
The programme, which was officially launched at the Millennium Stadium Cardiff before Saints' UEFA cup game against Manchester City, aims to establish a comprehensive educational programme leading to recognised qualifications at further educational level to gifted footballers.
The scheme encourages widening participation in education by using football as a vehicle to educational development.
Academy scholars are based at Walford and North Shropshire College’s Oswestry Campus for the educational part of their programme, with TNS FC being the lead provider of football coaching based at Park Hall, Oswestry.
So far, 20 boys have been registered onto the scheme for the 2003/4 season.
The scholars will receive coaching with UEFA-licensed TNS coaches Peter Griffiths and Martin Pope for three half days a week and are to form the backbone of the College’s football team. They will play in the Midlands College league on a Wednesday afternoon and for TNS Youth Team in the Mid Wales Youth League on Sundays.
Scholars will access a range of College courses as well as undertaking football specific coach education qualifications.

Above: Students from the scholarship programme pictured at the Millennium Stadium launch (Phil Blagg, County Times).

9 September 2021
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