A Myerscough College football student is celebrating after being called up to the English Colleges FA National squad.
17-year-old Tom Preston, from Poulton-le-Fylde, has been named in the party after impressing in trials earlier this month. Now Tom, who is currently on a Level 3 BTEC programme in Football Studies, will be part of the squad for a fixture against the Independent Schools FA in the middle of next month, to be played at the National Football Centre at St George’s Park.
The England Colleges squad then has a number of scheduled fixtures early next year, including games against Australia, and Welsh Colleges. Tom is also hoping to be part of the ECFA squad that travels to Italy in February to play in the prestigious Roma Caput Mundi, an annual international football tournament where the best players from across Europe represent their countries at Under 19 level.
Once selected, players follow a similar programme to most national teams with structured meet-ups building up towards a tournament at the end of the season. In order to be eligible all players must be full-time students within a BCS (British Colleges Sport) or ECFA-affiliated further education college and should be playing within the British Colleges Sport or English Colleges FA football league and cup programme.
Head of Football at Myerscough College, Phil Brown, said: “Representing England Colleges is an outstanding achievement for Tom and I’m pleased that he is the latest in a long line of Myerscough students to be selected. It’s one that reflects extremely well on his ability as a player. Everybody at Myerscough is very proud of what he has achieved.
“We pride ourselves in offering all of our football students every opportunity to develop, and the success of Tom is a good example of that. Our football courses contain a variety of exit routes across varying levels of the game and we are able to offer learners different progression opportunities, ensuring they enjoy the opportunity to perform as high as they can”.
A spokesperson for the Association of Colleges (AoC) said: ‘’It is our main priority to ensure AoC Sport delivers a high-quality ECFA National Team Programme in order to provide students and staff with a memorable and positive experience.
‘’This is a fantastic opportunity for (Tom and other) students to represent their college and country on the international stage.
‘’The standard at this year’s trials was high so it’s a massive credit to the players who were selected proving that they are some of the best within the English colleges system.’’
The photograph shows Tom with Myerscough College football tutor, Andy Collins.
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by Dave Salmon